Listen to #audioCALM and learn how to bridge your differences with mediation.

This is a series of interviews with our CALM Scotland mediators and others connected with mediation. The interviews are hosted by Scott C. Docherty, an accredited lawyer mediator who practises in Dumbarton and Helensburgh with McArthur Stanton.

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audio iconCarol Hope - click to listen audio icon

In this #videoCALM interview, mediator Scott Docherty chats with Carol Hope of Carol has practiced and developed mediation for decades and been instrumental in bringing peer mediation and conflict resolution skills to young people & families throughout Scotland.

In the interview Carol talks about the benefits to young people of involving them in the mediation process, and tackles some of the big questions this might raise for separating parents working through their issues. She explains in very simple terms what the process will look like for kids and parents within a child-inclusive mediation, including the kind of safeguards necessary to make sure it's not abused by the parents and that the kids involved will feel genuinely listened to. Flowing from this idea of helping young people through their parents' conflict, Carol goes on to explain how peer mediation can train children early on in school with problem solving, conflict resolution skills they can then take with them throughout life, and why such a vital knowledge and approach to conflict might benefit from forming part of the mainstream system of education in Scotland.

Please excuse the one swear word near the end - it is, after all, a direct quote from a child!...

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audio iconLisa Parkinson - click to listen audio icon

Lisa pioneered mediation in the UK and Europe, having set up the first mediation service here in 1978 and then the Family Mediators Association. Her work in developing mediation is pretty unparalleled, and continues particularly in the area of child-inclusive mediation and as chair of the Advisory Board of the Voices in the Middle campaign.

This interview takes us through this amazing work, and touches on how mediation has changed over the years to become a service capable of adapting around the needs and backgrounds of those separating, increasing the chances of a successful long-term resolution for those taking part. She talks also about how the system of information meetings in family actions in England & Wales might be improved on were Scotland to introduce them, and delves into fascinating detail about how child-inclusive mediation and the Voices in the Middle charity might help provide a better voice for children in separation.

It was a true privilege to have Lisa talk mediation with us, and although the interview is pretty long, given how knowledgeable and inspirational she is on the subject, perhaps you'll feel as we do that if only it could've went on for longer!

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audio iconSue Atkins - click to listen audio icon

In this interview our Scott Docherty talks with Sue Atkins, parenting expert and coach, best-selling author of Parenting Made Easy and a huge amount of similar resources, and regular on ITV's "This Morning" show as well as on Sky and BBC Radio.

Sue talks passionately about parenting apart and talking to your kids after separation. Her down-to-earth, common sense advice will strike right at the heart of what you may be going through right now in your separation, coming as it does from her deep well of experience and training. The important point she asks you to think carefully about is that your best chance of getting through everything in a time of stress and turmoil, including working out how to communicate with your children and your ex-partner or spouse, is to start looking after yourself.

Although the advice and the shoulder to cry on provided by family and friends can be vital, Sue asks you to think about some coaching even if that's online - and shake off that image you might have that it's only celebrities who instruct life coaches, because getting emotional and practical help from a professional who knows what you're going through and can look more objectively at how you can pull through it, could very well leave you with the peace you've been striving for.

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audio iconBill Eddy - click to listen audio icon

This immensely practical interview features Bill Eddy, President of the innovative High Conflict Institute in San Diego and pioneer of simple techniques to reduce conflict in, amongst other things, separation.

During the discussion Bill whips out his second brain to explain what's going on internally when we act or react in conflict, and tells us some amazing tricks to switch high conflict people into problem-solving mode in only a few seconds. Applying his methods in and around mediation sessions could have a powerful effect on its chances of success, and we would highly recommend those separating as well as professionals in mediation or litigation to take note.

We could have talked for hours on end with Bill on this subject but, quite miraculously, have managed to condense a great deal of his outstanding work into just over 40 minutes! Bill takes us through some of the cutting-edge developments he has introduced across the pond, including the BIFF Response method and the life-changing New Ways For Families project that's gradually but systematically changing the face of family conflict resolution in California. The online model of NW4F is now extending this revolution across the globe, so in separation you can now access this wonderful resource no matter where you live.

Enjoy this little interview, therefore, and start thinking about learning some new skills in handling your conflict before making the big decisions after separation.

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audio iconKaren Bonnell - click to listen audio icon

Our Scott Docherty talks with Karen Bonnell of Coach Mediate Consult, Seattle, author of the hugely practical and inspirational Co-Parents' and Parenting Plan Handbooks. In this interview, Karen talks about what a parenting plan is, what it can cover in your separation or divorce, the challenges that might get in the way of creating a plan, and most vitally how those challenges can be overcome.

One of the quotes in Karen's wonderful books is by her co-author Kristin Little, that "learning to co-operate with your children's other parent doesn't always mean agreement; it doesn't always means you have good feelings towards that other parent. It means that your love and care for your child is stronger than your anger and sadness, and your desire for peace is greater than your desire to be 'right'." Watching and listening to Karen on this subject may well hit home that point for you, and help you find a fresh perspective in your transition beyond separation.

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audio iconAlan Susskind - click to listen audio icon

This interview features Alan Susskind of Harper Macleod, Glasgow. Alan talks about choosing the right dispute resolution process when you separate and approach a family lawyer. He explains the various options your lawyer should lay out for you in working out what type of process might lend itself to resolving your issues, whether that may be negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, arbitration, or litigation.

Breaking those options down, Alan takes some time to explain the different approaches you can take to resolve those issues with your ex-partner or spouse, and how important it is to find the path most appropriate to you and, if you have any, your children. He considers also why mediation and collaborative law might not have kicked off in Scotland as much as perhaps they could have in recent years, and ends with a very informative key message for those of you who are thinking of making an appointment with a family lawyer.

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audio iconCharlie Irvine - click to listen audio icon

In this #audioCALM interview recorded at the University of Strathclyde Law School, our Scott Docherty talks with Charlie Irvine, former chair of the Scottish Mediation Network, active and innovative mediator, and Senior Teaching Fellow at the university.

Charlie talks here about conflict, about the way we approach separation issues and how our brains might get in the way of discussing those issues civilly. He describes the types of things that might be going on psychologically and the mistakes we can make or the cycles we can lock ourselves into when trying to find a solution to the issues we face. More positively, however, Charlie lays out some tips for separating couples and co-parents who find themselves in such conflict.

We hope you've been enjoying our interviews with mediators, parenting experts, innovators and thought leaders across the world, and there are plenty more to come. Please remember to SUBSCRIBE for free and don't miss any interviews!

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audio iconJane Evans - click to listen audio icon

This interview features Jane Evans (, trauma parenting expert with a background in early years care, foster care, and parenting & family support. Recently explored in her fascinating and inspirational TEDxBristol talk on Taming And Tending Your Meerkat Brain, this interview centres on the development of a child's brain, and the impact of parental separation on that brain development, particularly where the separation is not handled carefully by the parents.

Jane talks passionately, and with heartfelt personal experience, about what might be happening under your kids' bonnets if they've been exposed to your parental conflict, about the types of behaviour you might be seeing in your kids during the separation and divorce that could signal concerns later on in their development. Positively, however, she discusses in some detail the little things you might do each and every day with your kids whilst in the midst of the separation, and that although it can be really hard to focus on the kids whilst being distracted by the ongoing conflict with their other parent, doing so and building on that emotional connection with the kids will have a lasting effect they'll benefit from for years to come.

Based on her TED talk, Jane's wonderful new book "Little Meerkat's Big Panic" is available now on Amazon.

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audio iconGary Direnfeld - click to listen audio icon

This interview features Gary Direnfeld, internationally renowned social worker, keynote speaker and author of, amongst other things, the wonderful book Raising Kids Without Raising Cane.

Gary talks with relaxed clarity and passion about the importance of choosing the right path in resolving your separation issues, and mentions particularly the folly of going to court. He makes clear that he is not a lawyer, and that speaking with his social work and counselling hat on, by and large if a court makes an order concerning your children, whichever parent 'wins' or 'loses' the fight to get that order, both parents will be faced with having to make that order work. He talks about how difficult that can be for you and your kids following a period where you have been painting each other in a bad light within a court structure that forces you to do so.

His answer for those considering court, therefore, don't do it (!), and choose mediation, collaboratively-trained lawyers, and the caring services that can surround the process and help you reach a child-focused resolution to your issues that you have designed and can find some peace with.

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audio iconMeet Susan Oswald - click to listen audio icon

Meet Susan Oswald of SKO Family Law Specialists, Edinburgh. In this wonderfully gentle interview, Susan talks about the types of situations, and the types of people, mediation can help. She tells us that if you are recently separated, have been separated for some time, even if you've been embroiled in court with your ex partner or spouse, mediation can help you grasp control of your future.

Susan considers how it might feel if you visit a family court lawyer, who asks questions he or she thinks relevant to your type of case in order to progress your interests, and she talks about how different mediation can be. For example, your mediator will recognise that your feelings can still be raw & that it's difficult to look past those feelings and far into the future to think carefully about how to shape your new life and that of your kids. In mediation, you might find that you are really listened, empowered to control the agenda at your own pace and discuss what's genuinely important to you and your kids, what is fair to you rather than what might SEEM fair because that's how a court would look at it objectively. She recognises that mediation is difficult, particularly when it comes to considering the balance of responsibility for couples and parents after separation, but that what you can end up with is a future that you have drawn up yourselves rather than imposed on you, and which therefore makes it easier to follow through with.

The message which comes through loud and clear from Susan is that court is something that happens TO you, that it can feel sometimes like an out of body experience where strangers are deciding the fate of you and your children, whereas mediation puts the control back firmly in your own hands. Why not give it a go and see what happens?...

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audio iconMeet Rachael Kelsey and Robert Gilmour - click to listen audio icon

Meet Rachael Kelsey and Robert Gilmour, both accredited lawyer-mediators of SKO Family Law specialists in Edinburgh.

In this 'co-mediated' chat they explore just how flexible the CALM model of mediation is. What is the CALM model? It's really just how we describe the way our lawyer-mediators uniquely approach family mediation around Scotland. The flexibility talked about in this interview rests on how we can make sure you feel most comfortable in mediation, and therefore, how we can help make it work well for you. So Rachael and Robert describe how, if it will help you resolve YOUR dispute, your mediator can bring in another mediator, male or female depending on what would be best; or they could bring in the solicitors you and your ex-partner may have been instructing; or they might recommend third party non-legal specialists to help you build on what you've been working towards in mediation; or they might introduce something called shuttle, or 'caucus' mediation if spending some time apart from each other during sessions might help keep up a momentum towards sorting things out.

The advice at the end? Feel free to explore with your mediator what will work best for you in your situation.

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Meet Ewan Malcolm - click to listen audio iconaudio icon

Meet Ewan Malcolm, Chief Executive of Relate London North West, in this wonderful interview about online mediation recorded via Skype. If you push to one side the slightly dodgy resolution in the audio, you'll have the opportunity of listening to the thoughts of a genuine guru and pioneer of mediation in Scotland and beyond. Ewan established the Scottish Mediation Network here before working in New York and England, but still plays a major part in training and accrediting mediators in Scotland. Here he chats about online mediation, something being developed with more emphasis as time goes on and as the technology begins to improve and shape itself around the dreams of its creators, bringing dispute resolution, the chance to resolve differences in a civil, meaningful way, to more people than ever no matter their location or technological know-how. He talks passionately about his part in developing guidelines to make sure those entering into online mediation feel safe and confident, and how he sees this amazing service develop in the next few years.

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audio iconMeet Anne Dick - click to listen audio icon

Meet Anne Dick, of Family Law Matters, Glasgow. Although she would never accept it, Anne is a true pioneer of mediation in Scotland. Some decades ago she helped introduce it to our country, whose preferred system of determining family law disputes until then had been solely adversarial. Anne became the founding convener of CALM Scotland and the very first lawyer accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a family mediator. In this interview, Anne talks about the development of mediation in Scotland, how it helped shift the focus of family law onto children, reflecting a new understanding of a more equal status for parents and a responsibility to get it right for the children. She makes it clear that although it has been a real challenge to get the message out about mediation, to overcome the public perception of family lawyer mediators in the midst of huge financial settlements still grabbing the headlines, and she tells us in fact, that very few separation and divorce cases actually need to be decided in court these days, and that the legal system we now have runs quite complimentary to the self-determining approach mediation can bring to the table. Thankfully Anne sees this development progressing, and looking into her crystal ball she leaves us with her vision on how mediation will look in the future in Scotland. We hope you agree that this is a fascinating interview, and remember to subscribe for more of the same.

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audio iconMeet Helen Hughes - click to listen audio icon

Meet Helen Hughes, of McAuley McCarthy & Co, Solicitors, Paisley, and the current convener of CALM Scotland, in this, the very first #audioCALM interview with our accredited mediators. In this fascinating discussion, Helen talks with our Scott Docherty about what mediation actually is, how it's different from other forms of sorting out your separation disputes, and how to go through the process. She gives some valuable information about costs and the types of approach you can expect when coming to mediation. Scott (who is an accredited CALM mediator, partner at McArthur Stanton, Solicitors, Dumbarton & Helensburgh, and author of How To Talk To Your Kids About Separation) will be recording more interviews with our mediators, so to keep in touch please subscribe on iTunes and follow us at or on all the usual social media channels @calmscotland.

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