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Divorce Counseling and Divorce Mediation - A Survey of Mental Health Professionals' Views

NCJ Number
Mediation Quarterly Issue: 6 Dated: (December 1984) Pages: 73-85
T A Musty; M Crago
Date Published
13 pages
Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family counselors were surveyed to assess their views about divorce counseling and divorce mediation.
The sample of 52 mental health professionals was composed primarily of white, middle-aged, experienced professionals, most of whom were married. Only three professionals identified themselves as trained mediators. Almost all the mental health professionals understood the different definitions of divorce counseling and divorce mediation. Their responses indicated that the professionals understood some of the different functions of counseling and mediation and that they recognized some overlap in certain tasks. More than half the psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers sometimes carried out specific mediation goals in their practice. Regarding the issue of combining divorce counseling and divorce mediation, 64 percent of the psychiatrists, 60 percent of the psychologists, 50 percent of the social workers, and 30 percent of the marriage and family counselors felt that it was advisable. In their own practice, 18 percent of the psychiatrists, 27 percent of the psychologists, 6 percent of the social workers, and 30 percent of the marriage and family counselors said that they did divorce counseling and divorce mediation with the same couple. The study showed that mental health professionals performed mediation tasks without any specialized training. Mental health professionals need to be trained in mediation. Four tables and 16 references are provided.