The MWS Podcast: Episode 27, Andy West on Transformative Mediation

In this episode Andy West, a transformative mediator talks to us about the transformative framework, the nature of conflict, what we should do about conflict and what we should do about conflict that can’t be resolved. We then explore the difference between transformative mediation and Non-Violent Communication and to what extent this relates to the Middle Way.

MWS Podcast 27: Andy West as audio only:
Download audio: MWS_Podcast_27_Andy_West

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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 27, Andy West on Transformative Mediation

  1. An interesting discussion. Transformative mediation seems to emphasise a different aspect of the Middle Way to NVC or other forms of mediation, in that the extremes of opposed dogmatic views in a particular context are explored more fully, and there is more stress on open exploration of the ways that the conditions can be met.

    I wonder if it would be fair to suggest that there is a parallel between the relationship between Transformative Mediation and NVC on the one hand, and Middle Way Philosophy and Buddhism on the other? NVC seems to mirror some of the strengths of Buddhism in addressing certain conditions fairly well using the Middle Way in a rather more restricted way, but with the weakness of having rather rigid beliefs and procedures for addressing conflict, whether internal or external. A more rigid approach may be easier for some people to engage with, but doesn’t always work so well because it’s not adapted to a wide enough range of conditions. Transformative Mediation, like Middle Way Philosophy, seems to be aiming at greater universality through greater flexibility. Recognition of the meaningfulness of the extremes, or opposed dogmatic views, in the way in which people want to express them, also seems important in both.

    1. Hi Robert
      Yes, I like that analogy. I took an interest in NVC for a while and have been on a couple of their training weekends. I found a lot of the stuff very helpful, but there are some rigid ideas as well such as that our ‘true’ nature is compassionate and that conflict and judgement are destructive whereas arguably they can be constructive at times too. TM sounds a lot more nuanced and pragmatica and the chat with Andy made me question the opening banner on the MWS website whereby it states: “We seek to promote integrative practice, overcoming conflicts of all kinds”. Isn’t there an indication here that we view conflict as also wrong here in an ultimate sense? For example, doesn’t the main activity on this website of dialogue and the dialectic process involve a certain degree of conflict?

      1. Hi Barry,
        Whether the statement is problematic from the point of view of fully acknowledging conflict, and not idealising solutions, depends on whether you interpret ‘overcoming’ as ‘reducing’ or ‘annihilating’ but I agree it’s ambiguous. If we changed it to ‘reducing’, though, I think it would sound a bit weak, so I’m not sure what a better alternative would be. While we’re on the subject of the opening statement, it’s also occurred to me recently that ‘unhelpful distinctions’ would be better than ‘false distinctions’.

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