Mediation is different to counselling in that it doesn't have a therapeutic component and is designed to reach agreement about something that the parties are unable to reach agreement about on their own. Mediation is not a forum for any of the parties to "vent" to the other person/people about their feelings. This is likely to create a defensive reaction and will hinder the possibility of agreement being reached.
If you are considering mediation and don't feel that you are in an emotional space where you can be calm, respectful and clear headed, you may need some counselling first before mediation can achieve positive outcomes.
Suzi's format for mediation
The format I follow for mediation is:
The parties in conflict meet with me individually each before a joint session. This allows me a hear the full story from each perspective and allows all clients to feel heard.
The parties in conflict then jointly meet with me, with behavioural agreements in place.
If a report is required, it must be requested beforehand and there will be an additional cost for this (to be paid before the report is produced).
Reports cover agreements reached, or where there are no agreements reached, it states this. It is not a detailed account of the session and doesn't include all the details of the disagreement.
The cost for a mediation session is $150 inc GST for a 50 minute session (this is the same length as a counselling/therapeutic appointment). The first sessions can be single; when the group meets, they need to allow for double appointment times.