Susan Boardman – an interview

Susan Boardman1) Who are you? Where do you come from? What is your background?

I am a social psychologist and mediator, having first developed the fine art of mediation as a middle child between an older sister and younger brother. I was born in Pennsylvania (in the greater Philadelphia area), but spent 10 years in NYC for graduate school and post-doctoral work at Teachers College, Columbia University, and almost 30 years in Connecticut.

2) What do your current professional practice and activities look like?

For many years I was an academic, teaching graduate students, but more recently I have been involved in researching and promoting Couples Mediation, in addition to my private practice in family mediation. I was instrumental in creating APFM’s first Special Interest Group on Couples Mediation, which has been meeting monthly for over a year with members from all over the country and South Africa.

3) How did you first learn about mediation?

My graduate education focused exclusively on conflict resolution, studying the effects of personality and gender on conflict resolution styles. I have always been interested in how conflict is experienced by different people. I first starting formal training in mediation in 1996, in a community mediation course, and went on to do divorce mediation training at The Ackerman Institute in NYC, but as I said have been informally practicing it since my younger brother was born!

4) What do you hope to accomplish as a Board Member of APFM?

I hope to continue to promote Couples Mediation as a separate and important type of family mediation. I would like to see Couples Mediation be as well-known as Couples Therapy, so that couples in distress might reach for mediation as a first intervention. Right now, people do not really know what the process involves, and believe it is some form of therapy. Given that many of our clients have tried therapy first, and are looking for something else, we have a lot of work to do in this area.

5) Where do you see the field of Family Mediation going?

I hope that Family Mediation continues to grow and expand, as I feel it is really the only sane way to resolve conflicts. I also would like to see some sort of certification for professional family mediators.

6) What do you like to do when you are not mediating?

I like to travel, read, ski, and be with friends and family. I enjoy photography, being at the beach, and spending time with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.

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