Using “Collaborative Mediation” ™
Ava and Adam, who began Marriage Counseling at Janet Miller Wiseman, Mediation and Counseling Services, met in a sign language course and spent their honeymoon on the island of Aruba “speaking“ in sign language, while scuba diving and viewing the colorful fish and coral. Adam’s parents were both deaf, and he had grown up using American Sign Language since he had begun to talk/sign. Ava was a student in Adam’s sign language course and fell in love with her professor.
Soon enough they were married. During the honeymoon she was “suggesting“ that he have the seafood chowder for dinner, when he blew up. A mild-mannered mid-westerner, he took affront to her “controlling“ him, by “even insisting upon what I eat“. Making these kinds of food suggestions had forever been a part of her nationality group, that “lives to eat“, rather than “eats to live“. Before they had even finished their honeymoon they had “cultural conflicts“ and were at war, which later led him to moving out.
Couples work has been the “Centerpiece” of Janet Miller Wiseman’s Private Practice, The Negotiation Collaborative. Whether the couples are married, partners, pre-married, in a decision-making mode, parents and their parents, parents and their children, Marriage Counseling and Couples therapy is designed to strengthen individual self-esteem, competence, taking responsibility and to strengthen the ability of pairs to stay separate as individuals, not merging together, or projecting their own weaknesses onto their partner, while joining with and caring for the other, communicating his and her desires and needs in a way that may be heard and deeply understood.
Janet Miller Wiseman LICSW, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, and Certified Family and Divorce Mediator was trained from 1969-1972 at the then Boston Family Institute as a Couples and Family Therapist and has been working with all manner of couples since that time.
She learned as a professional “neutral”, to equally hold and embrace both parties’ perspectives, values, interests, and desires. She is not incapacitated by the need to see everything through the lens of one individual. There are always two sides to every issue. While being “right” or “wrong” is necessary for scientific endeavor, Janet urges couples to talk about their own and the other’s perspectives being different, not one “right” and the other “wrong”.
In Marriage Counseling, too much time is wasted in people’s search to place “blame” on the other partner, in essence pointing a child-like finger at the sibling, when Mom says “Who let the cat out?” — “She did!”. Janet encourages people to live in a “no fault/no blame universe”.
Each person makes his and her “contribution” to a relationship’s difficulties, or even its downfall, but no one person is to “blame”. In a relationship that seems to be becoming unglued, Janet encourages people to reach the highest level of mutual agreement or at least understanding as possible. There need be no “victims” and no “victimizers”. Childhood patterns of thinking in terms of blacks and whites, rights and wrongs, it’s a “catastrophe” if someone thing is out of order, are identified and traded for new, more rational and adult thinking.
Of course, the goal or goals with which the couple entered the Marriage Counseling is the most important agenda, and when they have achieved their goals, the therapy naturally evolves to an ending. Ms. Miller Wiseman has been trained and provides training in brief, goal, and solution focused psychotherapy, decision-making mediation and marriage counseling. Many clients’ intentions are not to continue treatment over a long course, but some clients where there are issues of affairs, abuse of substances, disastrous communication patterns spend more time in the marriage counseling and often return for “tune ups” over the years. Those who want to make core, deep changes in their relationships take longer periods of time.
Couples coming for marriage or relationship counseling have stayed together as their goal, long with strengthening their relationship, deepening their connection and intimacy, building or rebuilding their trust and radically improving their communication.
Janet Miller Wiseman, principal and owner, who works with several Certified Divorce and Financial Analysts, is an original co-founder of The Negotiation Collaborative in 1979 and the co-founder of the Mass Council on Family Mediation in 1982, an organization which provides high-level, bi-monthly continuing education to its members. Janet is a two-year past President of MCFM, the designee of the John Adams Fiske Award for Excellence in Mediation in 1982, and the original Director of Public Relations. Janet has thirty-nine years of experience in suggesting and co-crafting cost-effective, thoroughly researched, genuinely creative alternatives for settlement, not simply legalistic formulas.
Recommended Books on Decision Making Using Mediation