The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict (Revised Edition)
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More About This Title The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict (Revised Edition)


The award-winning first edition of The Promise of Mediation, published ten years ago, is a landmark classic that changed the field's understanding of the theory and practice of conflict intervention. That volume first articulated the "transformative model" of mediation, which greatly humanized the vision of how the mediation process could help parties in conflict. In the past decade, the transformative model has proved itself and gained increasing acceptance. It is now being used in such diverse arenas as workplace, community, family, organizational, and public policy conflicts, among others.

In this new edition, the authors draw on a decade of work in theory development, training, practice, research, and assessment to present a thoroughly revised and updated account of the transformative model of mediation and its practical application, including

  • a compelling description of how the field has moved toward increasing acceptance of the transformative model
  • a new and clearer presentation of the theory and practices of transformative mediation, with many concrete examples
  • a new case study that provides a vivid picture of the model in practice, with a commentary full of new information about how to use it effectively
  • clarifications of common misconceptions about the model
  • a vision for the future that shows how the model can coexist with other approaches and where the "market" for transformative mediation is emerging
This volume is a foundational resource on transformative practice, for both readers of the first edition and new readers - including mediators, facilitators, lawyers, administrators, human resource professionals, policymakers, and conflict resolution researchers and educators. More generally, this book will strike a chord with anyone interested in humanizing our social institutions and building on a relational vision of society.


Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger are the acknowledged originators of the transformative model of mediation and its best-known exponents. They are cofounders of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation.
Bush is the Rains Distinguished Professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution Law at Hofstra University School of Law. He has authored more than two dozen articles and books on mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

Folger is professor of adult and organizational development at Temple University. He has published extensively on mediation and conflict and is coauthor of the award-winning text Working Through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups and Organizations.




1. The Mediation Field: An Overview and Four Stories.

2. A Transformative View of Conflict and Mediation.

3. Gaining Sight of the Goal of Transformation.

4. Putting Transformative Theory into Practice: The “Purple House” Mediation, with Commentary—Part One.

5. Putting Transformative Theory into Practice: The “Purple House” Mediation, with Commentary—Part Two.

6. Myths and Misconceptions About Transformative Mediation.

7. Paths Toward the Future: Living with Differences in Values and Practice.


About the Authors.



"I recommend this book as it provokes creative thought, encompasses positive aspirational goals and broadens the perspective of practicing mediators." (IAM Mediation Newsletter; 12/1/2004)“The Promise of Mediation has been the single most significant influence on the modern ADR movement. This brilliant work serves as a constant reminder that mediation is about more than settling cases. Any serious student of the mediation process would be enlightened by the imaginative approach taken by the authors, and this new edition adds a wealth of new detail and substance about the approach, drawn from a decade’s experience applying it in many different contexts.”
--James Alfini, president and dean, South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas

The Promise of Mediation provides a road map for mediating workplace disputes in corporate America. Rather than pushing parties to settle, transformative mediation provides a process for employees to really work through their differences¾so they can move forward with a positive outlook and get back to business productively. I saw firsthand how transformative mediation improved the workplace culture at the United States Postal Service, and I have no doubt that its potential for impact on corporate America is significant. A must-read for human resource professionals, corporate counsel, and all managers committed to improving the workplace through building greater understanding between employees.”
--Cynthia J. Hallberlin, founder of REDRESS Mediation Program and former ADR Counsel of the United States Postal Service

“Bush and Folger have once again provided the field with a book that inspires and challenges us to reconnect with the reason many of us became involved with mediation in the first place. In the ten years since Bush and Folger wrote The Promise of Mediation, they have gained experience and grown in clarity regarding transformative mediation, and they skillfully share this through the second edition. It is clear that transformative mediation is here to stay and that it will continue to have a profound and enriching impact on the field.”
--Sharon Press, director, Florida Dispute Resolution Center, and former president, SPIDR

“In recent years, we have witnessed the erosion of the core values of mediation in favor of service to the forces of professionalism and legalism. The first edition of The Promise of Mediation served as a stunning reminder of the potential of mediation to empower individuals and communities in conflict. I credit Bush and Folger with reminding the field of its core values. Since the first edition, they have worked tirelessly to support the development of a practice congruent with these values. I believe that their efforts have produced a new model of mediation, one that provides a unique role for the mediator¾especially the community ‘citizen mediator.’ When we use the transformative model, we’re offering a form of help that no one else in society is offering to our fellow citizens.”
--Thomas Wahlrab, member, board of directors, National Association for Community Mediation, and coordinator, Dayton (Ohio) Mediation Center

"Being human is what human beings do. Yet our approaches to conflict analysis and resolution often dehumanize conflicts, by marginalizing emotions and avoiding discussion of painful histories. In this book, Bush and Folger help us re-imagine mediation within a relational framework where emotions and painful histories are essential features of the conflict transformation process. This framework not only focuses on the connection between people, but alos favors reflection on the parties' experiences, as human being. And by implication, mediators, as human beings, are encouraged to trust the parties in terms of their ability to move through the problems. Conflict is thus reframed as a contribution to the development of interaction, reather than a feature of life that needs 'management.' While this book contributes to our understanding of a model of mediation, it also humainzes conflict, and in the process celebrates what it means to be a human being."
--Sara Cobb, director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University