Create 38: I am a problem-solver

Mediation – note to self – THIS IS CONFIDENTIAL : 


10am+:  Hospital cleaving to Plan A (OOA transfer of P – but no actual OOA placement available)

10am+: Family maintaining that the (original homewards bound) Plan B is viable.

2pm: The family’s barrister A at the mediation (with one hour to go til hard 3pm finish): “No offence to you, Arabella, but I don’t think we’re going to get any resolution in this mediation.” And the hospital medical director had been saying the same to my co-mediator… BUT suddenly, at 2pm, the hospital said they had an idea. “A Plan C offer”

Me to family at 2.04pm, “The hospital has a proposal: Plan C – out of area transfer but to the unit of Dr X, the consultant the family brought on as expert.’

The family’s team: ‘The proposal is useless, offensive… for all these reasons…. (mainly, Dr X’s unit is x hours drive away)…. ‘

Me at 2.16 (trying to keep a lid on frustration with everyone using the mistaken approach of ‘explaining-the-problem-more-in-the-hope-that-that-will-make-it-go-away’): “Ok, we have 44 minutes to capitalise on the fact the hospital shifted, and were open to Dr X… What nugget of their proposal can we use?”

And suddenly, the barrister A starts thinking out of the box: “We can suggest a Plan D involving Dr X providing ‘remote’ care for P in situ...” Yes! Family agrees.

We go into another zoom room with the hospital’s two lawyers at 2.44. Barrister A puts Plan D across. Barrister B has two GENIUS ideas which attend to the legal difficulties…

Hospital’s solicitor, smiling…: “Thank you for this. If you can check this works with Dr X, and could then submit it to us as a written proposal, we will be pleased to look at it carefully with our clients.”

It was exactly 2.59pm. A moment of silence falls.

Astonishing. Months of only seeing either Plan A or Plan B, leading to JR proceedings at the High Court. And they solved it – effectively in ONE hour of creative thinking. And yes, I will say that the preceding 4 hours of carefully held openness, honesty, laying matters out in a non-conflictual and listening-focussed way, made it possible to get to that creative thinking moment. Also, the coaching of both parties. My asst mediator EM was exceptionally good at coaching the clinicians.

I think JR mediations might be my new favourite type of work. But they are so intense.

But listen to this – the crucial thing for me to remember:

Plan A vs Plan B (stuck) =>

Plan C (first offer – the first shift, revealing areas of openness) =>

Plan D (counter-offer building on the offer, acceptable to both)

I think you could write a whole book called Plan D. I just need to remember this phrase ‘Plan D’ to summarise the journey of learning we went on in this case. 

I NEED TO REMEMBER TO ASK THE PARTY WITH POWER IN JR PROCEEDINGS TO BE PREPARED TO MAKE AN OFFER. If their judgment has challenged in JR proceedings, it’s not enough for them to come to mediation hoping that the outcome will be that “the family just understands and accepts our position.”

It would have been good to say to the hospital, “Come prepared to make some new OFFERS.  [Hang on… I did, with the Requests & Offers exchange… But I think I need to stress BIG/SUBSTANTIVE offers.] The family have driven you to mediation via JR proceedings. That means they are seriously NOT happy with your Plan A. If they were ever going to accept your Plan A they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of getting legal representatives to initiate JR proceedings. You have the power to decide, so only YOU can make the first offer! ” Because remember, a JR is a challenge to the public body’s DECISIONS. The public body has the POWER to make decisions; the public has the power to challenge whether the body has made the RIGHT decisions. The public can’t make the decisions for the body, but it can force them to reconsider their decisions… and prompt them to consider make NEW DECISIONS.

I was just v lucky the hospital came to the conclusion themselves that a Plan C offer would be helpful, and that they then made that offer despite, frankly, knowing it would not meet the needs of the family (bcs Dr X’s unit is so far away), but that didn’t matter because, in their Plan C offer, they revealed a willingness to work with Dr X (who 12 hours earlier, btw, they had banned from even attending the mediation).

Other elements (confidential again): not for Dr X to become RC,  but  rather for current RC to discharge P from s3, w pre-app to CoP for ‘DOLS in situ’, so Dr X could oversee treatment in situ, much faster than via waiting for transfer to OOA unit. Result: s136 suite freed sooner than via Plan A. No OOA transfer. Community team can be trained in situ.

So… Good Morning. It’s the day after. As you can see, I’m still in awe and wonder of the process and possibility of mediation. Also, I know there’s many a slip etc, but we have a framework and a willingness to leave Plan A… so… Oh heavens… can I also say, I barely slept the night before…. I was nervous for days beforehand… I read some 1000 pages of bundles… and had hours of interviews before the day… It was massive. THANK YOU for the notes on HOPE. YES. I held hope for resolution when others couldn’t. That’s what we do in mediation, isn’t it? Hold the torchlight on hope when others are immersed in a sense of no-way-out-of-this-situation.

So, I’m keen to hear from you today. Your thoughts? Takeaways? Orientation for today – or for the future? Guidance to absorb learnings? Wisdom from HS… Contextualisation?

You are becoming what we call a Problem-Solver. This means you have the life experience to be able to see Problems without being toppled or intimidated or cowed or amygdala-hijacked by them. And you are developing the skills to facilitate a resolution process. Emphasis on the word process here. This is the skill. Many people have a binary approach to problems, by which we mean they get stuck at yes/no, or right/wrong, on/off… or at best a One-Stop Solution approach of ‘just do this’. You are learning to manage the complexity of ‘getting unstuck’. It’s about travelling across frequencies that combine and recombine multidimensionally across the ‘unsticking’ process.

Take yesterday. You needed for the parties to hear each other with open hearts to then, as a result, soften in resonance, for Plan C to occur; and then for the parties to feel hope and lift in frequency for Plan D to become vibrationally ‘available’. In other words, the interior shifts within the individuals allow the exterior shifts to become viable, not just on a mental/intellectual level, but much more profoundly on a frequency level. The factor you didn’t mention yesterday was that the mother started the session with videos and photos of her beautiful child. That opened the hearts and began the day. 

In future, I will ensure that happens! Yes! That the person/people under discussion are given the opportunity to give all involved a sense of their LIVES and SELVES. Videos, photos etc… so valuable. Why didn’t I ask for that? I hadn’t even seen a photo of the dear person we were mediating about… (I’d thought about asking to see one, but I hadn’t wanted to pry…)

Opening the hearts is key to change. When people are frightened, the hearts close, and of course in parallel, the pre-frontal cortex goes offline. So your role is to shift the conditions of fear, and promote that hope which CALMS and SOOTHES the systems. From that point onwards, the solutions can start to introduce themselves. 

Think back to Caroline Myss’s 12 storey building. In mediation, you can meet people on the ground floor where no horizons are visible and the air is heavy and overcast with shadows, and gradually walk with them up the stairs from one storey to the next, largely through giving space for trust and connection to build. Once higher up, the vistas are broader, and the solution to the problem can now be ‘spotted’ on the horizon. The parties find the solution themselves by being in a new state of consciousness that makes solutions ‘available‘. 

And essentially, my role is essentially to hold the knowing that there is a 12th storey, and that if one can get there via taking 12 flights up, or the lift, the solution will reveal itself.

Yes. And to keep the sense of ‘process’ in mind. That going directly from ground floor to 12th storey in one second is a) going to make you feel queasy and b) not the actual point. The ‘problem’ is giving an opportunity for resonance reset… and that is best achieved via taking full advantage of each of the 12 flights of stairs.

Take the family member with the distressed child who emailed you… How will you meet them on the ground floor, holding a sense of the 12th floor?

I guess even by giving gradations of interventions one can help. Recognising there’s an acute phase (with interventions) and medium term interventions and longer term…

Your role is to facilitate the parent to find the solution. 

Oh yes… tell me about ‘giving advice’.

Dinnae. Yet… You can signpost to resources, approaches. Give options. Base everything on the individual, person-centred, strengths-based… 


So. Problem-solving – not by advising – but by facilitating PROCESSES.

Reminds me of something…

If there was a problem yo I'll solve it

There we go.

I am a problem-solver


CREATIVE IMPULSE based on I am a problem-solver?

Go in…

Today’s Creative Impulse:

  1. Play with new DayBook format of
  • List appointments (including self-care apptmts with self) & Tasks (with est times)
  • Highlight the next Task
  • Cross out the Task when done (noting actual timings & feelings)

2. Experiment with techniques for ‘Resonance Reset’ for yourself:

  • so you don’t try to start Tasks from the ground floor, but from at least the 6th Storey
  • It’ll save a lot of time and energy, and make it easier for you to embark on Tasks over time. <3