24th Jan 2019

Making space for silence

Sarah Smith is a mediator and family lawyer with over 22 years’ experience. Marking Family Mediation Week 2019, she is exploring what the mediation process involves and what it means for separating couples and their families.   

So far on our journey through the mediation process we have talked a lot about talking. But, what part does silence play?

Actually, quite a big role – in mediation, there to be silences. That is can seem to the world we live in where everything is instantaneous and there is a constant search for immediacy and a pressure to fill the gaps.

Mediators know that sometimes the best solutions come if you are prepared to make space and leave silence for thought.  It can be hard to do this. I for one have had to learn not to feel the need to fill the gaps and allow space for thought; clients and my own. In this respect, mediation is far superior to court in this respect where your lawyer or barrister has to speak; for you, against your ex.

Reflecting on the bigger picture

Ultimately, the fact is that silence can afford the opportunity to reflect. Even if your relationship has come to an end, it’s fair to say that not all that has happened between you is bad.  Silence so often allows you to reflect on what is difficult in the circumstances, not put everything onto your other half.

Silence affords the opportunity to look forward and plan –your hopes, your new dreams, your future. With that focus, the light at the end of the tunnel suddenly seems a whole lot nearer.


Sarah Smith is Yorkshire’s only Eminent Practitioner in Family Law. She is both a qualified mediator and a collaboratively trained family lawyer.

Contact Berwins on 01423 543 108 or via family@berwin.co.uk to learn more about your family law options and to discuss whether mediation could be the right course for you and your family.

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