Access Counselling




Except for in exceptional circumstances the mediation we offer takes place within ACCESS rooms. This represents a neutral setting that is not associated with one party or another.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process where an independent third party, (the mediator/s) supports parties in dispute to communicate with each other. The outcome of mediation is that, hopefully the parties will reach mutually accepted resolutions to any issues they may be experiencing without recourse to formal or legal procedures.

There are different styles and approaches to mediation. ACCESS adopts a facilitative style from a person-centred approach. ACCESS mediators avoid directing the parties to any particular settlement. The mediator/s use counselling skills to help support the family/couple while they communicate with each other. The mediator/s takes responsibility for the ground rules / boundaries and time while the family/couple takes charge of the content.

Mediation is not about:

  • apportioning blame
  • passing judgement
  • gathering evidence
  • giving advice

Mediation is about:

  • exploring emotion,
  • identifying key issues,
  • negotiation, creating options,
  • breaking the cycle of any disputes,
  • Focusing on the future.

Mediation is appropriate when parties:

  • voluntarily choose it
  • want to continue to have a relationship
  • are willing to be reasonable open and honest
  • are able to communicate

Mediation is not appropriate when:

  • one party is intent on punishing the other party
  • one or both of the parties feel coerced into taking part
  • an imbalance of power exists which impedes honest and open exchange
  • one or both have no wish to continue in the relationship
  • either feels they are not in a safe environment
  • a young person has stated that they have or are suffering physical or mental abuse in the family home, or there is suspicion that this is happening

In mediation you may be encouraged to:

  • Respect the right to disagree
  • Express your real concerns
  • Share common goals and interests
  • Open yourself to different points of view
  • Listen carefully to all proposals
  • Understand the major issues involved
  • Think about probable consequences
  • Imagine several possible alternative solutions
  • Offer some reasonable compromises
  • Negotiate mutually fair cooperative agreements

Robert. E. Valett

Mediation is invaluable in helping families to see each other as individuals with individual beliefs and ideas. This can enable family members to understand and accept each other’s differences. This then promotes the ability to feel mutual respect for one another.