We’ve recently updated our name – from Family Mediation Training Canada to INSIGHTful Mediation Training – and could not be more excited about this. For those who have trained with me before you are aware of the importance I placed on dealing with the families in front of us fully, meaning that our techniques can actually help them process through difficult emotions and find the space and place in our work to map out a new way of dealing with each other, and the future. Where there are children involved, there couldn’t be more important work. Part of my growth over the past few years has been due to the excellent mentorship of Dr. Cheryl Picard and Elizabeth Sterritt. As I have embraced the insight mediation approach it only made sense to ensure that all of our courses allow other future mediators to learn the techniques as well. I am also excited to announce our new format for working professionals who want to become family mediators. In late September, early October 2022 we are going to offer our entire course package in a personal weekly zoom format, with three Saturday’s as well, taking the trainee through the entire courses in an exciting new way. Instead of taking each course “one by one”, we will structure the modules to flow in a way that will make sense for the learner. For example, you will hear about child support law one week with Cynthia Nantais followed the next by learning how to mediate child support cases with Jennifer Suzor. We have structured the modules to flow in a way that makes so much sense to us and we are excited to publish more details later this month. Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer and ready to take some exciting courses this Fall!
Reflections After a Long Week Immersing in Domestic Violence
It is so important to send our survey's immediately following a course and we do this with each course we teach. Although I have consistently been rated as 5 out of 5 stars, I very much appreciate the time people take to give comments and we take them into account as we continuously plan better ways to deliver services. Recently I attended the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Conference for four days and then revamped my Power Imbalances course and taught it for the following three days. The convention was powerful, in particular because many survivors and family members of victims shared their stories. It was deeply moving and inspiring in terms of wanting to do my part to ensure mediators screen effectively. That's why I was particularly grateful to see some really positive feedback come in from the surveys from this course, like this one: "Jennifer is really sensitive, an intuitive. 5 star rating attributed to the trainer's insights on racial issues and LGBTQ issues, including microaggressions and trans issues. More importantly, the intersections for those with multiple memberships to marginalized communities." Another participant commented: " Jennifer’s skill, knowledge and competence are weaved throughout the course materials and her stories".
- We also received the highest ratings about our role play coaches, confirming that they were very knowledgeable and helpful. We use a role play coach in groups of three throughout our trainings. One attendee commented that they really appreciated the exposure to a variety of mediators through role play coaching and another commented, "She was very encouraging and positive. Rather than frame things as criticisms, she showcased an alternative method or approach by illustrating her own acting out in the roleplay and characterized it as what she might try in that situation. Such a classy lady - this was conducive to an overall positive learning experience."
Although we greatly appreciate such positive feedback, we also received some helpful comments, as set out here: " Great course! Really appreciated the content that captured race and sexual orientation. In the future, I would like to see more content about DV directly against vulnerable children (step-children, LGBTQ children, adopted or fostered children, etc.). I think there should be a focus on some other forms of power imbalances: same sex relationship where one is out and the other is not and that is weaponized against the non-out spouse. Cultural stigma where marital problems are frowned upon and involves an interracial couple. I've had cases where the perpetrator is a prominent member in the community (police officer, wealthy, etc.) and how victims can navigate those situations where systemic bias can prevent them from disclosing the abuse."
This was very thoughtful feedback and although it is very difficult to cover everything we would like to in three (3) days, we are going to continue to try harder! The survivors and the families of the victims deserve our very best.
Jennifer Suzor, LL.B.
Accredited Family, Child Protection and Elder Mediator (OAFM)
Certified Advanced Practitioner Mediator (APFM)
Lead Trainer and President, Insightful Mediation Training
3231 Tecumseh Road East, Windsor, Ontario, N8W 1H2 Telephone 519.252.2772 Facsimile 519.945.0010
New IPV Risk Assessment Tool
I recently reviewed and attended an OAFM sponsored training event with Deepa Mattoo, Executive Director and Patricia Coelho, Project Coordinator, of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. They, together with other community partners, have developed a new Risk Assessment Tool which I think will be extremely helpful for mediators to use as a Screening tool. I have added this to the Resources of those who have taken my Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Screening course and highly recommend you review it and consider having a copy in every file. While we know the development of rapport in terms of asking questions of our prospective clients is a critical skill, we also know that we cannot rely on clients to volunteer highly sensitive information unless we ask some critical questions. Setting the stage by developing rapport, having sufficient time to conduct initial screening interviews and then applying a Risk Assessment Tool such as this is something that quite literally can save a life. Moving forward I will be highlighting the use of this new tool in my training programs.
Simulated Role Play Course
We are excited to announce that we were approved by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation to provide the new Simulated Role Play Course.
The Simulated Role Play Course has been approved by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation as meeting 80 of the 100 hours required for Supervised Practical Experience. It is structured as two separate one week blocks and can be purchased as such. Week One takes place over five (5) consecutive days and Week Two is separated into a three (3) and two (2) day block. This is an evaluative course, designed to meet the requirements to become an Accredited Family Mediator. The purpose of this course is to provide direct, hands on experience as observer, client and mediator. The goal is to provide opportunity for the trainee to obtain up to three (3) mediation reports that could be used for accreditation in the simulated format. Role plays will encompass a mediation from intake to finish and include comprehensive and/or complex issues. The expectation is that the trainee further develops the skills and knowledge required for mediation throughout the course and has the opportunity to complete several mediations, providing them with the opportunity to obtain up to three Mediation Reports.
The format of this course is broken down into two weeks. The first week will include three (3) days of observation of our lead trainer followed by two (2) days of co-mediation with the Coach. Each group of three will have a coach throughout the mediation role playing. This results in an experience similar to traditional internship. The students will also play the part of the clients, which provides a rich learning opportunity. This will be followed by reflection by the trainer as the mediator, debrief, and the students will be asked to draft Progress Notes and/or Mediation Reports. Week Two will be a format of student led mediations, with a pre-requisite of having completed Week One, or having completed forty (40) hours of traditional internship with another provider.
The price of Week One or Two purchased separately is $1,500 per week, or $2,900 for both weeks if purchased together.
Following completion of this program, the trainee is still required to obtain two mediated agreements with families. We will review applications to continue supervised practical experience with Jennifer Suzor and her team of mediators or every effort will be made to connect the trainee with an opportunity to obtain those two cases.
COVID and Online Training
I had a lot of reservations about online training. COVID forced me to adapt and serve, as OAFM has called us to do and I’m very happy to report things have gone really well. I have learned that there are many ways to connect with people, good things we can learn and do, and I have (somewhat) become a “Zoom Master”! I have now spent an entire summer training some people I have never met “live”. As strange as that is, not only have I felt rapport with those people but I’m happy to report they have developed rapport and friendships with each other. Training is my great passion and if I felt people were not connecting with each other I would not want to continue in this format. Very relieved that is not the case! I thought I would share a few comments from some of those mediators-to-be so that you can be encouraged with what will happen during training.
“I just wanted to send you a great big thank you for making the time and facilitating all the courses these past few months. I honestly feel like I could listen to you mediate for hours. You are a true professional with great experiences and a natural talent for teaching. Your passion and drive makes me want to do great things with this career and help others through the process. I feel very grateful I had this time with you and the others and hope I can be half the mediator you are over the up coming years“, CK
“The Advanced course was excellent. Great skill building, discussion of ethical issues, role plays.”, SB
So, if like me, you feel strange about the “online world”, dive in with us and give it a try!