It took me a long time to realize that I was meant to be a family conflict and divorce mediator.
I worked with difficult kids who were faced with tremendous obstacles and dealt a poor hand in the game of life. I loved helping these kids find the best in themselves and learned that I was great at de-escalating kids and helping them problem solve. I went to graduate school for social work in 1999 and upon graduation I sought and secured a job as a Program Director of a residential treatment program and special education school for adolescent girls.
It is here that I truly cut my teeth and learned to navigate exceptionally stressful and conflict-ridden circumstances. There was much that I loved about the work, not the least of which was helping a group of people with very different interests come to consensus. It was common, for example, for me to facilitate a case conference with a parent, student, state social worker, state attorney, public school special educator, probation officer, and the program teacher and clinician – and help this motley group find common ground and move forward to truly meet the best interests of the student and her family.
I had long been intrigued by the mediation profession. The more I considered learning about mediation the more I realized that I was already working as a de facto mediator. Finally, after several years working as an Adjustment Counselor at a local high school, a mediator friend encouraged and persuaded me to attend an introductory 40 hour class.
Becoming a Family and Divorce Mediator in Massachusetts
It was love at first sight.
The moment I entered the class I knew mediation was for me. The principles of mediation mirror my social work values, particularly the concept of self-determination. What appeared challenging for classmates was intuitive for me. And I really enjoyed it!
For the first few years after that initial training, I volunteered in the district court system, attended advanced trainings, received mentorship from veteran mediators, and slowly but surely built up my private practice.
I now provide mediation services to families from all walks of life. At the time of this writing, I am currently working with a high-conflict divorced couple with three children and multiple properties, a never-married couple whose co-parenting relationship is marred by an extremely high level of conflict, a recently married couple with no children and no assets seeking divorce, and a happily married couple and their teenage daughter mediating serious conflict between them and their daughter.
As you can see on my home page, I also write a blog to help people learn how to improve communication and resolve conflict. Most of my posts are inspired by my professional and personal experiences from the conference room, classroom, and family room. I take pride in writing in an engaging style that is entertaining and useful to you, the reader. The response has been amazing: click here to view social media comments from just one recent post.
I also teach parent education classes for parents seeking a divorce, and present at conferences from time to time. Click here for more information about my workshops and trainings.
In addition, I work part-time for MGH’s Think:Kids program, helping parents and professionals work more effectively with children with challenging behavior through the Collaborative Problem Solving model. I am the Director of Certification at Think:Kids, which is a division of MGH’s Department of Psychiatry. Click here to learn more about Collaborative Problem Solving.
Please note that my name is spelled Ben Stich, not Ben Stitch (a common oversight that makes it difficult to find me online).