The MWS Podcast: Episode 11, Monica Garvey

In this episode Monica Garvey talks to us about Family Mediation, an integrative, non-confrontational and progressive approach to family disputes that aims to be forward looking and solution focused. Monica talks to us about how the issue of children are tackled in mediation, the role of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, strategies for overcoming dogmatic positions and the power of an apology.


MWS Podcast 11: Monica Garvey as audio only:
Download audio: MWS_Podcast_11_Monica_Garvey

Previous podcasts:

Episode 10: Emilie Åberg on horticultural therapy, agnosticism, the Quakers and awe.
Episode 9: T’ai Chi instructor John Bolwell gives an overview of this popular martial art.
Episode 8: Peter Goble on his career as a nurse and his work as a Buddhist Chaplain.
Episode 7: The author Stephen Batchelor on his work with photography and collage.
Episode 6: Iain McGilchrist, author of the Master and his Emissary.
Episode 5: Julian Adkins on introducing MWP to his meditation group in Edinburgh
Episode 4: Daren Dewitt on Nonviolent communiction.
Episode 3: Vidyamala Burch on her new book “Mindfulness for Health”.
Episode 2: Norma Smith on why she joined the society, art, agnosticism and metaphor.
Episode 1 : Robert M. Ellis on the skill of critical thinking.

About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

6 thoughts on “The MWS Podcast: Episode 11, Monica Garvey

  1. I’m glad that we’re keeping up some discussion of the socio-political level of integrative practice as well as within the individual. This struck me as very strongly grounded on experience – no fancy theories about how to mediate, but lots of conviction about the value of facing up to conditions. The role of meaning and imagination also came through when Monica asked couples to imagine what it would be like for them if their two employers or two best friends were in conflict.

    1. Hi Robert

      I’ve known Monica for many years and it’s my impression of her that while she values the importance of theory she nevertheless sees it as a guide to practice with practice usually playing the main role. To my mind, this approach to her work and her life in general has stood her in very good stead. The famous quote by Yogi Berra comes to mind :

      “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”

      From what I take from your recent paper on the threefold model of practice, am I right in saying you have a similar belief in the primacy of practice when it comes to Migglism?

      1. Migglism is definitely making a difference in my life, at home and in my activities outside it.

        I’ve resumed a meditation practice that had become arid, because it wasn’t linked to any increments of positive change in the way I formed and clung on to opinions, or formed my sentences when I wrote or spoke to others, or my capacity to listen; and neither meditation nor my processes of thinking and my beliefs were properly aligned with my creative impulses, and the desires that fuelled them. I had them all in separate boxes. They didn’t ‘speak to each other’, or if they did their messages were muffled and contradictory.

        Migglism, I think, can really help us work out a ‘diet’ that balances the ingredients – the three ‘spiritual nutrients’ – and helps each individual to adjust the measures of those nutrients required for health and vigour, based on individual needs. It also helps us to draw up a menu of recipes to suit our individual tastes and preferences, as well as our culinary talents.

        I enjoyed Monica’s talk. I wish I could find the coherence she brings to her professional work in my own. I had a more coherent ‘model’ when I was teaching. As a nurse (and as a chaplain) one’s ‘interventions’ are shorter, more task-oriented, more episodic, arbitrary, part of a blend or miscellany of influences, and less conducive to specific outcomes than mediation. But one does what one can, in the best way one can, and each day brings a hundred opportunities to make a difference, however vanishingly small.

      2. I wouldn’t say that I believe in the primacy of practice, as that might suggest we should take what we happen to practice as a criterion of judgement. Many people who believe they are practical actually rely a lot on dogma, because they don’t reflect on the conventional theories they assume and that determine their practice. Rather I think that theory and practice are completely interdependent. If theory is to be constantly informed by experience, and experience is formed through activity, then the negative feedback from practice continually modifies our theoretical view. There’s always an assumed theoretical view too though.

        What I get from the Yogi Berra quotation is that it’s easy to appropriate practice to theory by interpreting everything in terms of a preconceived theory, rather than letting negative feedback from practice make an impression. So we sometimes need to guard against that by trying to let practical experience speak for itself. That’s also the impression I got from the interview of Monica’s practical approach to mediation: that she had let experience modify whatever views she started with.

      3. That makes sense, Robert. On reflection, I like the idea of theory and practice being interdependent rather than there being an overemphasis of one over the other. I find your interpretation of the Berra quote especially helpful in this regard. I also think you’ve summed up Monica’s approach really well.

  2. I found the podcast extremely interesting. Monica Garvey’s experience in other fields before taking on her present work must be of great value. I thought of an earlier podcast about non violent communication which had similar aims, bringing disputes to the table whenever possible to search for common ground.

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