In mediation it’s often helpful to help parties separate intention from impact. Parties in dispute often judge each other, in part, by their assumptions about the other person’s intentions. If the impact was negative, then the intention of the other person was assumed to be negative. This may not be the case. While the parties can always be clear about how the behaviour of the other has impacted them, they cannot be clear about the other’s intentions.

Therefore, it can be helpful when parties are discussing what happened, to help them recognize that their impact on the other person was what it was, and the impact may have been completely divorced from their intentions. Also, it can be helpful to make it explicit to the other person that, while the impact on them was negative or hurtful, that may not have been the other person’s intention.