Mediation is a structured manner of addressing disputes between individuals or organizations following guidelines designed to deescalate and hopefully resolve conflict without excessive or unnecessary litigious expense.
Dawn M. Echols, M.S., LPC is a trained private mediator and specializes in certain aspects of divorce mediation, as well as other forms of conflict resolution between individuals or organizations. She specializes in aggression and anxiety in her counseling practice, as well as couples’ dynamics. Her background and qualifications are a natural fit for conflict resolution. Ms. Echols offers conflict resolution services for a variety of cases.
Formal conflict resolution is conducted by a trained or qualified mediator. In Georgia, mediators can be private, registered, and/or listed on court rosters by county or judicial district. At the very least, a mediator meets certain educational requirements. Ms. Echols was a Registered Mediator from 2012-2015. She now conducts private mediation, as well as offers brief solution oriented therapy aimed at resolving conflict between individuals in a counseling setting.
Formal mediation evolved from the U.S. Justice system seeking solutions to overloaded court dockets and delayed legal action. This led to the establishment of Alternative Dispute Resolution, commonly called ADR. (The term ‘alternative’ in this setting means an alternate path to resolution outside a courtroom and a judge’s decree.) In most counties in Georgia, mediation between divorcing (domestic) parties must be attempted before domestic parties appear in court. It is a common misconception to think that divorce requires a court appearance; however, if parties cannot agree, the conflict can escalate into the judicial system. When escalated, this particular form of domestic mediation requires parties use a Registered Mediator, or Registered Neutral, that is additionally approved for a county or district’s court program in the county of residence where the divorce is filed. (These mediators are listed at the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution www.godr.org – see tabs for court programs). When court program mediators facilitate domestic mediation, agreements reached result in a binding legal document between two parties who desire to dissolve a legal marriage and such agreements become part of the final divorce decree. If agreement cannot be reached in mediation by a court program registered neutral, a judge may issue orders on unresolved issues of conflict.
Private mediation does not require the use of a court program, so mediation options depend on the case in question. Agreements reached in private mediation are not drafted as legally executable documents, but rather, focus on reaching an understanding between parties and document the points of agreement between parties. Private mediation can be utilized in general/civil or domestic cases, but not in court programs.
Counselor/Therapists can be effective mediators due to their training and experience in helping people bring about positive change. The facilitative model of conflict resolution is favored in Georgia, especially for divorce, and is a natural fit for counselor/therapist-mediators.
For scheduling mediation or conflict resolution, please contact us HERE.
- Brief Solution Oriented Therapy for Conflict Resolution: $150 per hour
- Mediation: $250 per hour, Initial 3 hour minimum, billed per hour after initial meeting