In this study, the author analyzed recordings of 200 intake calls for neighbor disputes at community mediation programs. The article describes several "barriers to mediation" in these calls which led some callers to decline to mediate. Callers' general unawareness of mediation presents one barrier. Some mediators, answering calls, will only describe mediation indirectly. Another significant barrier appears when mediators stress the process' impartiality, which leads many callers to disengage. The author recommends that mediators frame mediation to show its differences from talk and self-help the caller may have tried. Also, while mediators must be impartial, it is important to show empathy and an understanding of the caller's problem.
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