MEDIATION: New service launched on our website

Cooks, Books, Nooks and More, the website dedicated to improving the lives of adults 50 plus, to age better, live healthier and richer lives continues to focus on issues relating better living for adults. The site is proud to announce the launching of a new service guided by a professional mediator, Ms. Helen Lightstone.

“Dear Helen,” this new column, professionally moderated by Ms. Lightstone, will address issues relating to relationships with a different take, looking at people can take polarization positions. When people are polarized, they become emotionally anchored, tethered to intransigent mental-emotional positions, unable to see other viewpoints but their own. The result, worsening conflicts and increased numbers of disputants.

Helen Lightstone
Helen Lightstone is a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada, the foremost professional body for dispute resolution in Canada. As a Chartered Mediator, not a psychologist, Ms. Lightstone will address your conflict through the eyes of a neutral third party. She will offer no opinions but as a mediator look at things a little differently. In any dispute, there are positions and interests which may be defined like this: “A position is what you want, and an underlying interest is why you want it.” Interests are wants, needs, fears, desires and concerns. A mediator besides looking at the two sides of the dispute, the positions of each party (typically, ‘I am right, and you are wrong’), also considers the underlying interests and agendas driving each side in the dispute.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Ms. Lightstone will have you look at the conflict differently and will provide the opportunity to understand various facets of the conflict: the origins of the conflict, the differing approaches to resolution and various strategies which can be considered to bring about a successful resolution to the conflict. The process, ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution,’ aims to understand the underlying interests (wants, needs, fears, desires and concerns) of both parties with the intention of achieving a mutually satisfying resolution.

Win-win vs. win-lose
Many types of conflict can be resolved by the ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ process, neighbourhood disputes, condominium clashes, workplace conflicts, family quarrels, including separation and divorce, civil and criminal lawsuits, along with a new area of conflict, elder and estate mediation. In court-based conflicts such as family (matrimonial) and civil law, the courts believe that the best parties to resolve the dispute are the parties themselves, as a result, mediation has increased in popularity over the last few decades. The benefit of mediation is a win-win result, although there are other benefits. With this said, Alternative Dispute Resolution is not for everyone and both parties must be willing to participate. If parties are unwilling to attend a mediation, the alternative may likely be the court, the outcome, a win-lose.

De-escalation and resolution
The goal of Alternative Dispute Resolution is to repair damaged relationships and above all, cause no further harm. Bearing this in mind, Ms. Lightstone examines underlying interests and the respective reactions to it and she addresses the concerns of both parties in a neutral, caring and sensitive manner. Both sides of the dispute are given the opportunity and are encouraged to see things with a deeper understanding of what the other person is thinking and feeling. With this new understanding, a resolution may be reached before the dispute escalates and gets worse!

Write ‘Dear Helen’
If you are experiencing a conflict situation and wish to learn better ways to approach the situation with increased likelihood of resolution, email Ms. Lightstone. Send your email to “Dear Helen” at


Helen Lightstone is a Chartered Mediator of the Canadian Institute of Arbitrators, with a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution, York University-Osgoode Hall Law School. Dubbed “the Mediation Lady” by her students, Helen is also a respected and experienced professor of Mediation – Alternative Dispute Resolution.


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