WhenWednesday, October 19, 2022 -
Mediator Burnout and Self-Care
October 19, 2022
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Pacific time)
Mediators, regardless of whether they are in private practice or working in community-based or government mediation programs, are susceptible to occupational stress such as “burnout.” Not only is burnout a problem for the individual in distress, but also the symptoms of burnout undermine fundamental principles of quality mediation. For example, a burned-out mediator may exhibit narrow and uncreative thinking, diminished capacity to regulate emotions, compromised decision making, and deficits in attention and memory.
The prospect of mediator burnout not only threatens the quality of mediation, but it also highlights shortcomings in the regulatory framework designed to provide mediation quality control. Mediators are unique among human services professionals in that professional ethical monitoring rests almost exclusively upon the shoulders of each individual mediator. Despite considerable discussion about how to ensure mediators deliver quality service, the focus has been on molding newly minted mediators rather than those who are already in practice. And minimal attention is paid to the workplace environments in which mediators do their work.
This presentation will explain the elements of burnout, summarize existing burnout research, and then discuss how and why burnout can manifest in mediators. Because preventing or mitigating burnout is unique to each individual, this presentation will instead focus on structural, organizational interventions that can help protect against burnout.
About the Presenter:
Lydia Nussbaum is a Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Experiential Legal Education at the UNLV Boyd School of Law where she also serves as the Director of the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution. Before joining the faculty at Boyd, she taught as a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of Baltimore School of Law and was a fellow in the Leadership, Ethics, and Democracy Building Initiative at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. She teaches courses on dispute resolution and family law and directs the law school’s Mediation Clinic. Her research focuses on government uses of mediation and how the design of public mediation programs impact mediators and mediation participants.
Professor Nussbaum’s professional roots started in Maryland. She completed her first basic mediation training at the Baltimore Community Mediation Center on Greenmount Avenue and she volunteered as a mediator doing community, re-entry, and parenting plan mediations before moving out west. She was an early member of the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence. She also received training in community conference facilitation from Restorative Response Baltimore, formerly the Community Conferencing Center.