Book review – “Bush and Folger – The Promise of Mediation”

Written on 25 Oct 2023

“The Promise of Mediation” offers a comprehensive analysis of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method. Bush and Folger present a compelling argument for the transformative potential of mediation, while acknowledging the difficulties in uncovering and addressing the underlying issues that often hinder successful resolutions.

The authors highlight the inherent difficulty in reaching the core issues during mediation. They assert that parties involved in a conflict often focus on immediate concerns, such as financial compensation or winning the argument, rather than addressing the root causes. This tendency can hinder the transformative potential of mediation. For example, in a divorce mediation, the couple may argue over asset division, neglecting to address the emotional wounds and unmet needs that led to the breakdown of their relationship.

Despite the challenges, Bush and Folger argue that mediation holds immense promise for personal growth and societal change. They contend that by creating a safe and respectful environment, mediators can encourage parties to explore their underlying interests, values, and emotions. This transformative approach allows individuals to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and others, fostering empathy and facilitating long-lasting resolutions. For instance, in a community mediation involving neighbors in a dispute over noise levels, the mediator’s skillful facilitation can help the parties recognize their shared desire for a peaceful living environment, leading to a mutually beneficial agreement.


“The Promise of Mediation” by Bush and Folger provides a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities within the mediation process. By highlighting the different levels of mediation and the challenges in reaching underlying issues, the authors shed light on the transformative potential of this alternative dispute resolution method. Mediation, when skillfully employed, can empower individuals to address the root causes of conflicts, fostering personal growth and societal change. This book serves as an invaluable resource for mediators, practitioners, and anyone interested in understanding the profound impact mediation can have on resolving disputes.

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