Austin Gamey-Self Mediation
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Aug 29, 2017

Poor marriage counselling and mediation are destroying many marriages in Ghana.

This is because most of the marital counsellors and mediators are not professionally trained, says Mr Austin Gamey, a renowned Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) expert.

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According to him, the majority of divorce cases are attributable to either inadequate counselling or weak marital mediation.

Divorce cases continue to rise in Ghana annually, with more than 50 percent of new marriages ending up in divorce.

And the majority of these couples undergo counselling before marriage, while the distress cases undergo mediation before ending in divorce.

“So the question is why are we recording more divorce cases if these couples go for counselling before marriage or mediation to solve their problems?” Mr Gamey asked, saying that “it means those calling themselves counsellors and mediators are not doing any proper work.”

Counsellors destroying more marriages

Addressing a Masters’ class of professional ADR trainees in Accra, Mr Gamey said it was regrettable that many of the marital mediation sessions, especially in churches have become kangaroo courts where judgement is pronounced on partners as a way of resolving the marital conflict.

“So the couple leaves the mediation session more divided and adversarial, and the situation, which the counsellors think they have addressed, leads to a divorce,” he explained.

Also, he said some of the marital counsellors and mediators are not even married, thereby lacking the benefit of experience to guide and save marriages in distress.

Mr Gamey explained that professional marital mediation demands the impartiality of the mediator who needs to avoid passing judgement in a case.

Furthermore, he said modern marital mediation requires the use of the Appreciative Inquiry model which focuses only the positives of a marriage and how they could be enhanced.

“Appreciate Inquiry focuses on bringing what is good from the past to the present, and moving it into the future,” he said, adding that through that process, the partners are enabled to appreciate each other and talk together to resolve the matter themselves without the influence of the mediator.

He advised untrained counsellors and mediators to seek professional training and also asked prospective marriage couples to be cautious of who offers them counselling.

He also urged distressed couples who are desirous of saving their marriages to seek the help of professional marital mediators.

By: Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com

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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.