Hallmarks of Transformative Mediation

Learn about the ten hallmarks of Transformative Mediation


Robert Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger, (1994) in their article "Transformative
Mediation and Third-Party Intervention: Ten Hallmarks of a Transformative Approach to Practice," identify what they consider to be ten major patterns of practice adhered to by transformative mediators. Those hallmarks are:

  • "The opening statement says it all": Describing the mediator's role and objectives in terms based on empowerment and recognition.
  • "It's ultimately the parties' choice": Leaving responsibility for outcomes with the parties.
  • "The parties know best": Consciously refusing to be judgmental about the parties' views and decisions.
  • "The parties have what it takes": Taking an optimistic view of parties' competence and motives.
  • "There are facts in the feelings": Allowing and being responsive to parties' expression of emotions.
  • "Clarity emerges from confusion": Allowing for and exploring parties' uncertainty."
  • "The action is 'in the room'": Remaining focused on the here and now of the conflict interaction.
  • "Discussing the past has value to the present": Being responsive to parties' statements about past events.
  • "Conflict can be a long term affair": Viewing an intervention as one point in a larger sequence of conflict interaction.
  • "Small steps count": Feeling a sense of success when empowerment and recognition occur, even in small degrees.


In 2005 Bush and Folger released their latest book on Transformative Mediation entitled, “The Promise of Mediation,” which talks specifically about the US Postal Service and our experience and success with the transformative model of mediation.

“The unique promise of mediation lies in its capacity to transform the quality of conflict interaction itself, so that conflicts can actually strengthen both the parties themselves and the society they are part of.” Bush/Folger, “The Promise of Mediation,” page 13.