Couples & Families

Mediation and Facilitation: Mediation and Baltimore Mediation’s Transformative Approach


Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that uses an impartial third person, the mediator, to facilitate meaningful conversation between two or more people about difficult issues. The goal is to help people constructively engage in conflict and make informed and thoughtful decisions. The mediator does not offer legal, financial or psychological advice, nor does a mediator tell parties what to do. Instead, the mediator invites the parties to speak about their concerns, helps them to hear information and each other in new ways, provides legal, financial, and other general information when requested to be considered and checked out as the parties see fit, and drafts of written summaries or agreements made.

Click here to jump to specific information on the various categories for mediation, including marriage, parent/teen conflicts, partnership dissolutions, trust and estate disputes, and elder care conflicts.

For couples, mediation can be used to sort out the details and make decisions about legal, financial, and emotional issues surrounding a  separation or a divorce. Couples and families struggling through difficult times also use this type of mediation to stay together. Families also use mediation when facing complex issues, where a third party neutral could be helpful.  Mediation often saves parties both time and money and, most importantly, it allows parties themselves to retain control over the process as well as the outcomes, including terms of agreement. This is a transformative approach to mediation which Baltimore Mediation mediators practice and have helped to develop nationwide.


*There are limits to confidentiality in situations with abuse or violence.


Mediators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation help people identify the issues they want to discuss from the past, present and future. Mediators can assist in gathering relevant information for quality financial and property decision making such as budgets, business records, tax returns, property valuations, costs of alternate places to live or work, mental health information financial information, legal or other guidance from outside sources.  The mediator will draft summarized decisions or agreements if participants wish. In the event of a decision to separate or divorce, the mediator will prepare a Voluntary Separation and Property Settlement Agreement, if so chosen.


Yes, there are a variety of mediation styles and approaches. Some mediators are more oriented toward helping parties to communicate and clarify their issues and priorities. Others are more oriented toward helping parties reach agreements. Assuming the latter approach includes helping parties reach informed and workable agreements that may be unique for each family, the Mediators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation are interested in both. This is what is called a “Transformative Approach.” Our Mediators believe in promoting quality interaction which will bring about fair, responsive and satisfying decisions and agreements. Louise Phipps Senft is nationally known as a pioneer of the transformative approach to mediation and has helped bring the approach to families, courts and the practice of law. Baltimore Mediation mediators believe in and offer a Better Process…Better Outcome.


Yes. Louise Phipps Senft and Baltimore Mediation are elected members of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (ISCT), and Louise Phipps Senft is also certified as a Transformative Mediator™ and as a Transformative Mediation Trainer by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation ( Mediators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation are also certified by the Maryland Council on Dispute Resolution (MCDR), a Maryland state practitioner organization, and one of the first to develop and implement a performance-based measure of competence ( Louise Phipps Senft is also one of a few hundred Advanced Practitioner (AP) members of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), Family Section, which is a nonprofit professional association with more than 6000 members in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Australia and Africa. ACR provides support, training and guidance for practicing mediators and information about mediation for the public. The ACR Family Section has established training and ethical standards for professional mediation practice of which Louise Phipps Senft has played an integral role over the years, and ACR also provides a referral service for Advanced Practitioner (AP) family mediators (

Click here to jump to specific information on the various categories for mediation, including marriage, parent/teen conflicts, partnership dissolutions, trust and estate disputes, and elder care conflicts.



Baltimore Mediation has extensive experience in mediating family disputes. Whether a disagreement between two siblings or the entire family, Baltimore Mediation successfully allows for everyone to be heard where a potentially divisive conflict could have occured. Mediation can turn contention into an experience of clarity and strength for all which has promoted informed decision making, stronger relationships and the emotion involved in decisions concerning family.

Baltimore Mediation’s systems approach and transformative model which, focuses on the quality of the dialogue and interaction, has proven to be highly successful in bringing clarity and understanding to multiple issues and often complex histories as well as emotional topics, generating creative solutions and helping to maintain important relationships and productivity.

Another hallmark of Baltimore Mediation’s work is the comprehensive written summary of the dialogue after the facilitation capturing essential ideas, identified barriers, issues, options, consensus, differences, decisions, and action steps generated during the facilitated dialogue. Furthermore, Baltimore Mediation facilitators are regularly called upon to facilitate follow-up meetings, such as continued decision-making for an elderly parent who is now ill, thus allowing all family members to participate fully while continuing to keep peace.

What makes Baltimore Mediation facilitators unique is that they know that these issues are emotionally charged. They don’t ask you to muzzle these feelings, rather, they encourage you to talk about your emotions regarding the matter in order to make the best choices for loved ones. They want you to leave the mediation knowing that you were heard. In addition to being nationally certified as Transformative Mediators™ and facilitators, they have extensive backgrounds in counseling, psychology, law, human resources, finance, business management and organizational development, which prepares them for virtually any situation that arises.

Information on the various categories for facilitation, including care of elderly relatives, family meetings and conferences, family business meetings and succession planning, and pre-marriage dialogue and decision making.