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The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict Hardcover – October 25, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0787974831 ISBN-10: 0787974838 Edition: Revised Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; Revised Edition edition (October 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787974838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787974831
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"I recommend this book as it provokes creative thought, encompasses positive aspirational goals and broadens the perspective of practicing mediators." (IAM Mediation Newsletter; 12/1/2004)


The Promise of Mediation has been the single most significant influence on the modern ADR movement. This brilliant work serves as a constant reminder that mediation is about more than settling cases. Any serious student of the mediation process would be enlightened by the imaginative approach taken by the authors, and this new edition adds a wealth of new detail and substance about the approach, drawn from a decade’s experience applying it in many different contexts.”
--James Alfini, president and dean, South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas

The Promise of Mediation provides a road map for mediating workplace disputes in corporate America. Rather than pushing parties to settle, transformative mediation provides a process for employees to really work through their differences¾so they can move forward with a positive outlook and get back to business productively. I saw firsthand how transformative mediation improved the workplace culture at the United States Postal Service, and I have no doubt that its potential for impact on corporate America is significant. A must-read for human resource professionals, corporate counsel, and all managers committed to improving the workplace through building greater understanding between employees.”
--Cynthia J. Hallberlin, founder of REDRESS Mediation Program and former ADR Counsel of the United States Postal Service

“Bush and Folger have once again provided the field with a book that inspires and challenges us to reconnect with the reason many of us became involved with mediation in the first place. In the ten years since Bush and Folger wrote The Promise of Mediation, they have gained experience and grown in clarity regarding transformative mediation, and they skillfully share this through the second edition. It is clear that transformative mediation is here to stay and that it will continue to have a profound and enriching impact on the field.”
--Sharon Press, director, Florida Dispute Resolution Center, and former president, SPIDR

“In recent years, we have witnessed the erosion of the core values of mediation in favor of service to the forces of professionalism and legalism. The first edition of The Promise of Mediation served as a stunning reminder of the potential of mediation to empower individuals and communities in conflict. I credit Bush and Folger with reminding the field of its core values. Since the first edition, they have worked tirelessly to support the development of a practice congruent with these values. I believe that their efforts have produced a new model of mediation, one that provides a unique role for the mediator¾especially the community ‘citizen mediator.’ When we use the transformative model, we’re offering a form of help that no one else in society is offering to our fellow citizens.”
--Thomas Wahlrab, member, board of directors, National Association for Community Mediation, and coordinator, Dayton (Ohio) Mediation Center

"Being human is what human beings do. Yet our approaches to conflict analysis and resolution often dehumanize conflicts, by marginalizing emotions and avoiding discussion of painful histories. In this book, Bush and Folger help us re-imagine mediation within a relational framework where emotions and painful histories are essential features of the conflict transformation process. This framework not only focuses on the connection between people, but alos favors reflection on the parties' experiences, as human being. And by implication, mediators, as human beings, are encouraged to trust the parties in terms of their ability to move through the problems. Conflict is thus reframed as a contribution to the development of interaction, reather than a feature of life that needs 'management.' While this book contributes to our understanding of a model of mediation, it also humainzes conflict, and in the process celebrates what it means to be a human being."
--Sara Cobb, director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Aurora Denny on May 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This newly revised edition of The Promise of Mediation offers a wealth of new information on the priniciples of transformative conflict intervention. Many readers may not be aware that the revised edition actually contains almost entirely new material, reflecting new understandings of transformative mediation that have developed since the publication of the first edition. Bush and Folger offer new specifics for practice in the transformative framework of mediation through a carefully analyzed case study, in which we can see details of the "small steps" of conflict transformation. They also discuss the impact that the transformative movement has had on the field as a whole, and debunk some common misconceptions about the transformative framework. I have especially enjoyed the last chapter, which addresses, more completely than anything in the first edition, the deep underlying values that have led to the articulation of a transformative vision for mediation, and looks at possibilities for the future of the field.

This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone interested in mediation, conflict, or just the interaction of human beings.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Simon on November 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm grateful to the authors for the significant advance in mediation thinking that this book represents. This new edition has the potential to move the entire field toward a deeper, more powerful understanding. With the original edition, and again with this one, Bush and Folger have provided great clarity to a topic that, until now, has been muddled. While other mediators and writers succumb to the pressures of conflict and become part of the problem, these authors instruct us on how to remain true to the most important principles that lead to deep healing of human conflict. If I had the need, I would only hire a mediator who had read, studied, understood and embraced this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David A. on January 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the follow-up to the authors' watershed first edition of the book by the same name, and contrary to the fate of most sequels, this one's really worthwhile. Indeed, it's largely a new book, rather than a mere revision; it fully updates the reader on the journey and developments in "transformative mediation" over the decade since the authors' first book with the same title was published in 1995. For anyone with an interest in the transformative model of mediation (as contrasted with, for example, facilitative or evaluative mediation), this is the best, most comprehensive, and well-written volume available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Torleif Salte on May 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was well worth the time to read this book. The book makes the case for Transformative mediation, and shows how letting go of a strict and strongly held focus on settlements, and control. The mediator can make room for a transformative mediation where the focus is more “client centered” on each participant in the mediation. By “mirroring” their respectives ideas and feelings, they get more clear, and with a more clear view of their own standpoint, they can feel empowered and more safe, which can lead to less defensiveness and sometimes more recognition of the other side's perspective, and flexibility in their actions. That in turn when happens sometimes/often lead to a de escalation of the conflict. And then sometimes settlement.
Process oriented mediation.
This makes sense to me.

What I am still chewing on:
Unclear standpoint in the book regarding what client groups can benefit from Transformative mediation.
The case is made for no selection regarding what type of clients the method can be applied for.
And then the book in one single case points to Transformative mediation is insufficient alone in regard to battered women.

My understanding of it from the book that there is a conflict between the naive view of conflict in the ideology behind transformative mediation (everybody have the same humanity/potential for making peace), and violent high conflict cases.
The underlying philosophy of the book with the feminine/relational view of human interaction, that fails to ankownlogde human diversity. It stand for a romantic view of human nature that is not in line with evolutionary theory (or the picture the bible paints of humanity after eden), history or everdy life.
Read more ›
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By McKinley Curtis III on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First thanks for the encouragement to read this book from my Brother-N-Law.
I finished reading it after having it in my possession for almost two weeks and what a relief to get through it.
Although somewhat dry the real part that was interesting was the “Purple House with Julie, Elizabeth, and Bernice. “Putting Transformative Theory in Practice Parts One and Part two”.
The authors have a way of presenting the case and building on the information that is ultimately connected with chapters 4 and 5 so that you understand the gist of the book.
For me also knowing the various theories such as Carol Gilliam (Feminist) in what I learned from other course that I’ve taken was important. Bottom line is you need trust, and you have to allow yourself to stay neutral in transformative approach to conflict.
What I found was that I was hoping that some of what I read would transition itself into training on conflict resolution and that this book will help facilitate my learning experience.
Unfortunately, I did not; however being neutral is a key component that I have taken away into conflict resolution.
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