September 4, 2018
In our “Meet a Divorce Mediator” blog series, we interview MWI’s top divorce mediators to learn more about their work in the field and their experiences.
This week, Ben Stich tells us about his work as a divorce mediator, licensed independent clinical social worker, and coach. Ben brings over six years of experience in counseling local high school students and around 5 years of experience in high-conflict divorce mediation. He is an instructor at the state’s only High-Conflict Parent Education Program located at William James College. Ben is also Director of Certification for Think:Kids, a division of MGH’s Department of Psychiatry. In addition to that, he also trains and coaches in the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model, an approach to understanding and working with children and teenagers with challenging behaviors, to a wide variety of people. For eight years, Ben has taken the time to direct an adolescent residential treatment program.
As a divorce mediator with MWI, Ben puts his High-Conflict Mediation training to good work as he mediates cases concerning not only divorce, but also custody disputes, parent-teen conflict, marital issues, elder decisions, asset division, liability division, property division and other high conflict family disputes. He also helps facilitate our court-approved “Better Parent” Parent Education Program.
We had the opportunity to ask Ben some questions, and here is what he had to say…
What do you like best about serving as a divorce mediator?
Divorce is such a painful and stress-ridden process. I take solace in knowing that I am helping make a difficult process slightly less so by providing the structure and support spouses need to negotiate. I love all aspects of divorce mediation, particularly helping individuals increase understanding and find common ground when perhaps that seemed like an impossibility. But what I like best is helping parents develop child-centered parenting plans. A great parenting plan will reduce the children’s exposure to their parent’s conflict. This, more than anything else, can have the most profoundly positive effect on children of divorce.
What challenging aspects of divorce can you be most helpful with?
I would say there are three things that immediately come to mind. The first is helping parents in high conflict situations navigate the divorce and work towards resolution. I am incredibly comfortable with conflict, and have developed somewhat of a niche working with spouses in high conflict relationships. The second is helping with complicated or contentious parenting plans. And the third, which is a subset of parenting plans, is helping parents with children who have special needs, which adds an additional challenge to the process.
What have past clients said about your work as a divorce mediator?
I have many testimonials on my website, and time and again I hear appreciation for keeping tense situations calm, maintaining impartiality, providing helpful information and referrals, and being responsive to client needs. Here is one example:
“I am so thankful that we decided on mediation for our divorce. And I am especially thankful that our paths led to Ben! Ben was not only professional, but his knack for keeping topics organized, keeping us on track and in a peaceful and efficient manner was outstanding. As we know, this is a very emotional event to begin with, but he was always most understanding, kind and thoughtful as we worked out our issues. His guidance and ability to stay neutral was impressive and he held true to his role in this process. He was knowledgeable and was able to direct us to resources outside of the process, provided us with all of the pertinent documentation and was most accessible and responsive. I would highly recommend Ben if you feel that mediation is right for you. Best wishes.”
When and where are you available to provide services?
I am available Tuesday-Friday from 7:30 AM – 5:00. My primary office is in Natick, and I have access to space in Newton, Wellesley, and elsewhere. For more information or to schedule time with Ben, contact his case manager, Josh Hoch, at 617-895-4038.