I created Mediation From The Heart® to put a name to the philosophy about mediation, and the approach to doing it, that makes the most sense to me based on my education, my professional experience, and, perhaps most important, my life experience.
The philosophy of Mediation From The Heart® is influenced by the principles of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), including the core idea that humans all have the same fundamental needs, for example, the needs for sustenance, security, meaning, and to matter. Conflict arises not as a result of peoples' differing needs, but because of their different strategies to meet those needs, often combined with an unwillingness or inability to seek and implement strategies that meet the needs of all concerned. Thus, a key early step in Mediation From The Heart® in practice is to identify what needs are alive for each party.
As an approach, Mediation From The Heart® aims to empower participants to make decisions for themselves based on quality information and clear-headed thinking. As a mediator, my approach is to facilitate productive dialogue between the parties (sometimes through me) by helping them explore the fundamental interests core human needs that inform their decisionmaking about the topic being discussed. With the operative needs identified, we then brainstorm different strategies to meet each party's needs and try to identify those that also meet the needs of both parties, or at least are not inconsistent with either party's needs.