Joseph Alfe J.D., LL.M, Informal Resolution Facilitator & Mediator, Texas A&M University, and Adjunct professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Kline Duquesne School of Law discussed The Psychology of a Title IX Dispute and the Importance of Empathy in the Path to a Successful Resolution with an audience of 140 Title IX professionals, recorded on Tuesday, January 10th, 2023.
Closed Caption: Available, here.
Related Articles: Compassion In Compliance: Finding Empathy in Title IX by Julianne Watterson, Title IX Coordinator at Gustavus Adolphus College
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Special thank you to our phenomenal Speaker:
- Joe Alfe J.D., LL.M, Informal Resolution Facilitator & Mediator, Texas A&M University, and Adjunct professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Kline Duquesne School of Law
Interested in learning more about New Era ADR? And how we can assist in informal resolutions by providing a technology platform and trained informal resolution facilitators? Contact us at [email protected].
Students seek compassion, empathy, and trustworthiness when they bring their conflict forward to be viewed through your lens of campus Title IX justice. Yet many students feel the formal resolution process is overly legalistic, far lengthier than they expected, and lacks compassion as it often resurfaces the claimant’s traumas as details are brought up and examined. It begs the question: What’s the best way to inject empathy in the resolution process to facilitate a fair and equitable resolution more efficiently?
A Title IX mediator’s commitment towards empathy and emotional connection is one of the most subtle yet pervasive challenges to mediator neutrality. Every mediator consistently faces the intellectual challenge of how best to address the role of emotion during mediation. And while empathy is an essential skill for mediators to develop in order to communicate to both sides that their perspective is understood, the balancing act between empathy and neutrality is not simple to master.
The way a mediator addresses the emotions of both competing parties can play an enormous role in the length of time it takes to reach a successful resolution. Often the only way parties can agree to end their dispute and accept living with the outcome is when each perceives the mediator to have been empathetic, even if the other party was not reasonable.
However, if a mediator over empathizes with the emotional concerns of one disputant, they leave themselves open to allegations of bias and partiality. In order to avoid this risk, mediators can find themselves ignoring the emotions of the parties and in turn cause a more tumultuous and lengthy mediation. It is only through the mediators commitment to develop the essential skills of strong emotional self-awareness and self-regulation to control their own emotional compulsions that mediator empathy can co-exist with perceptions of impartiality.
Related Articles: Title IX Resource Guide