Family Mediators from around the United States have come together and formed a new organization known as the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM). As a national organization, APFM will be in an excellent position to cast wide-reaching and aggressive marketing strategies designed to enhance each mediator’s practices and client base. No longer will Family Mediation be the best kept secret in the world! APFM will embrace current media marketing methods that include effective social media strategies, actively utilizing radio, internet and focused television advertising opportunities and seeking NPR underwriting to encourage those involved in family conflict to choose mediation. Additional resources will be provided for disseminating pertinent information to referral sources and potential mediation clients.

APFM’s vision extends far beyond the initial arena of divorce mediation. This includes the mediation of a range of conflicts within intact families, involving all levels of intergenerational conflicts, such as elder-care and family business disputes. It also includes other types of family disputes, such as those in real estate transactions, home renovation and construction, and conflicts involving non-traditional families, such as same sex couples and grandparent adoptions.

The Academy of Professional Family Mediators has formed as a professional membership organization of practicing family and divorce mediators. The membership brings together the collective wisdom of advanced mediation practitioners, researchers and educators.

To achieve wide-ranging credibility and respect, APFM will establish a premier family and divorce mediation-accredited certification designation. This program will include a full curriculum, along with a practicum series for family and divorce mediation practice, and will delineate the experience and continuing education requirements and ethical standards needed for accreditation.

APFM will serve as a repository and source for a complete mediation education curriculum, including a professional quality newsletter, a professional journal developed in partnership with a college or university, a digital library of innovative process developments, research papers, and articles. Educational programs and opportunities will be provided through pre-conference and conference workshops, partnering with colleges, universities, mediation trainers, on-line distance learning, member-only collegial bulletin boards, webcasts, teleconferences, and a LISTSERV.

A well-trained, knowledgeable mediator is an educated consumer’s best friend, and the vibrant resources of APFM will serve as the gold standard for family and divorce mediator training. APFM welcomes all practicing family mediators to join. APFM promotes quality work in the family mediation field and intends to increase the credibility of mediation as a better option for consumers confronting family conflicts. For more information, visit www.apfmnet.org .

by Bill Eddy

Bill Eddy is the President of High Conflict Institute and the author of “It’s All Your Fault!” He is an attorney, mediator, and therapist.