Mediation, from a Mental Health Perspective.

Darin Witkovic

Unlike the majority of the volunteers at the APADRC, I am not an aspiring lawyer or law student. In fact, I would have never discovered the organization if I hadn’t been looking over resumes at my current place of employment. I come from a mental health background with most of my experience and studies in counseling and psychotherapy. I’m passionate about working with Asian Americans and the LGBT community; if you’re an LGBT Asian American, even better.

I was drawn to the APADRC for two reasons. First, I wanted the opportunity to get direct experience contributing and working with the Asian community here in Los Angeles. Generally adhering to a collectivist culture, less acculturated Asian Americans are less likely to seek help with research stating that they fear asking would burden others, disrupt balance, and possibly bring shame to the individual and/or family. A center like the APADRC is rare resource offering advocacy and support for individuals frightened, ashamed, and conflicted.

Secondly, I was drawn to the interactions that mediators have with their clients. Conflict resolution between neighbors, family members, business partners are just a few intakes I’ve experienced during my time at the center. During mediation, emphasis is placed on communication and dialogue. Rephrasing, validating feelings through restatements, neutrality in the language used in mediation is very much similar to how mental health professionals interact with their clients.

My interactions with other volunteers and staff at APADRC have been insightful and rewarding. Everyone’s shared goal of advocacy and support with a real dedication to improving the lives of others can be witnessed here daily. I plan on continuing outreach with the APADRC all the while enriching my interpersonal skills and enrichment of my service back to the community.