About Baltimore Mediation

Baltimore Mediation takes a relational approach to conflict, disputes, and difficult situations by convening participants and helping prepare them for quality interaction and face-to-face dialogue so they can interact and negotiate on more authentic terms with the support and presence of a third party neutral. The firm was the first transformative mediation ADR firm in the U.S. Baltimore Mediation’s philosophy is that people have the capacity to change the quality of their difficult or stagnated or harmful interactions with the assistance of a third party neutral who believes in their capacity to be neither a victim nor a victimizer. Problem solving, decision making and terms of agreement on authentic terms are natural by products of this approach. It’s a relational approach pioneered by founder Louise Phipps Senft. Baltimore Mediation mediators, whether working with two people or a large group of people, focus on the quality of the interaction. They believe that clarity can emerge from chaos and shifts can happen in rigidity when opportunities for such transformation are the focus of the mediator neutral. For almost 30 years, Baltimore Mediation had been a beacon of transformative mediation and relational practices nationwide for families, business partners and large institutions facing crisis or change. Lead by founder Louise Phipps Senft, Baltimore Mediation is one of the most successful mediation firms in the U.S. and one of the largest and most influential mediation training programs in the U.S. Baltimore Mediation specializes their practice on divorce, family business, trust and estate, employment, large scale commercial disputes, academic departments, boards of directors, medical systems, and corporate executive teams both non profit and for profit to help them navigate through conflict and crisis and through change and complexity. The relational approach allows clients to re-create cohesion, so they can then make informed decisions to move through complexity and conflict and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Mediators at Baltimore Mediation will never tell people what to do, nor will they ever take sides about who is right and who is wrong, nor force compromise nor advocate for any one participant’s ideas over another’s. The firm’s mediators do not attempt to impose control over the agenda or ground rules of meetings and never practice separating people from each other. Baltimore Mediation’s mediators decisively choose against such normative transactional practices which are often performed in the name of getting a settlement over a belief in the participants’ empowerment and ability to make those decisions for themselves. Baltimore Mediation mediators maintain a steadfast belief that the wisdom will emerge from the conflict when the participants engage with the difficulty rather than bypass it. Baltimore Mediation mediators work diligently and surgically to help participants get clear and feel stronger so they can speak and request what they need from each other while also experiencing being more open to hearing other’s perspectives and needs. When people experience a more expansive view of a complicated situation, an experience they were not able to have without the intervention of a relational mediator, the natural byproduct is better understanding and decisions made with greater discernment. This byproduct is usually better for the larger context, whether everyone agrees on everything or not. Baltimore Mediation mediators help create the relational environment so our clients can engage in hard and rewarding dialogue and decision making and emerge stronger and wiser.


The philosophy of Baltimore Mediation is that while conflict in families, organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, businesses and boards of directors has the potential to act as a healthy and creative force for change and growth, failing to deal with it in a constructive manner damages individuals, organizations and relationships. Baltimore Mediation is devoted to community service and to teaching and assisting others in the resolution and transformation of conflicts and disputes through dialogue. Baltimore Mediation is also dedicated to, and expert at facilitating, difficult or complex conversations and taking the stress out of stressful interactions and difficult conversations.

People often avoid open confrontation because they are uncomfortable with conflict or do not have the sufficient skills to deal effectively with conflict situations. Others know only how to fight. Conflict resolution training from the relational worldview provides people with a grounded transformative approach, greater self-awareness, and a set of tools and a process empowering themselves and others to constructively face and effectively channel conflict, rather than allowing hostility to build, positions to harden, assumptions and hopelessness to permeate, and situations to become unmanageable and very stressful.

Baltimore Mediation seeks to offer a transformative approach to otherwise adversarial means of resolving conflict. We believe that our mediation services and training will help people to avoid resorting to potentially destructive means of resolving serious disputes— through emotional or physical violence, through legal battles, or through avoiding tactics that allow disputes to fester and personal health to suffer.

The transformative approach is also ideal for providing a process for quality dialogue when groups want to grow, expand, or work more cohesively together. Transformative facilitation for groups dislodges barriers and restores connectedness, which serve as the new or renewed foundation for quality decision-making, stronger relationships and future productivity.

We invite anyone interested in promoting mediation or practicing conflict transformation skills in their organization, workplace, or family to contact us. Our desire is to elevate the level of public knowledge and awareness of the mediation and facilitation alternative. Our vision is that the use of mediation for disputes becomes a natural and first response to conflict for families, businesses, organizations, churches, and associations. Our parallel vision is that the use of facilitation from the transformative approach becomes a natural and first choice for important business, board and organizational meetings, and retreats for surfacing core commonalities as well as differing points of view since doing so will provide for a better workplace and build future capacity for the group and society.

William W. Senft & Louise Phipps Senft