"Our task now is not to fix the blame for the past...but to fix the course for the future"
- John F. Kennedy
Mediation is not counseling or psychotherapy. Mediation is a process for helping people resolve conflicts by creating an agreement that meets the needs of each party.
Mediation is increasingly used by businesses and courts to resolve conflicts between individuals or groups. In the State of Florida, all couples filing for divorce who are not in complete agreement on issues of children, property, and finances are required to seek mediation. Other reasons for seeking mediation include unresolved property and financial agreements between families, neighbors, or employers and employees. There are several options available for mediation services, including attorney mediation, court based mediation, and mediation with a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator who is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. While each of these options meet the court's requirements, there are benefits to using a Mediator who is also a Professional Counselor.
Mediation, by design, is a neutral process where each individual brings their concerns and demands to the table in order to reach an agreement. Often people report mediation to be a stressful, win-lose, or even lose-lose experience. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Jenny Preffer brings a different perspective and approach to mediation. Based on the principles of counseling principles of respect for clients, person-centeredness, and client-driven goals, Dr. Preffer works with each party, separately and individually, to create an agreement that both parties have designed in a safe and collaborative environment. Additionally, because she is not an attorney and does not represent either individual or group, Dr. Preffer is able to provide the neutral environment and working relationship that is needed for cooperative mediation in which each individual contributes to an agreement that satisfies both parties.
As a Certified Family Mediator, Dr. Preffer works with clients who have chosen not to use or are not financially able to have attorney representation. If this is your situation, Dr. Preffer will provide a neutral, collaborative environment with a focus on helping you create an agreement that satisfies both parties. Clients are always encouraged to seek the advice of experts regarding legal, financial, and other issues even if you do not choose to have these advisors represent you during mediation.
In some cases, only one party is represented by an attorney while in others, both parties have legal representation. Dr. Preffer will provide mediation for attorney-represented clients using the same principles of respect, person-centeredness, and client-driven goals. When you are represented by an attorney, you will be provided with privacy to discuss your options and to decide on the elements that you will place into an agreement. Dr. Preffer's role in an attorney-represented mediation will be to assist in creating an agreement that satisfies both parties and their attorneys.
Mediation can be provided in our offices, at a mediation center, or in your attorney's offices.