Mediation and individual health perceptions – an essential area for conflict awareness

Health is private

Talking or not talking about one’s individual health status is, understandably, quite a personal matter and can be a considerably intimate topic. It is something quite private that we all look at and deal with from our very own, and very individual, perspective.

After all, no-one can really share my anxiety or pain, however emphatic they are.


Health is semi- public

Yet, private health also becomes somewhat more public as soon as medical consulting or intervention becomes necessary. In order to obtain professional help, we are obliged to talk about something, that we might rather want to keep indoors and to ourselves.

Neighbours, friends, colleagues can also be drawn in rather more than what might fit into our personal feel-good zone.

In short: our own, individual health perceptions and the way we deal with them, the way we want to communicate them, seem to be an integral part of our own, private, undisclosed life.

Health is on the open stage now

But what happened just a couple of months ago?

The entire world seems to have turned into an openly accessible platform of discussions on disease symptoms, fever curves, risk groups, and even individual suffering made public.

This change, – personal health moving into the public realm rather than staying behind one’s own, self-defined closed doors – can lead to uncertainty, anxiety, or simply sheer bewilderment about how to cope.

I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, though. They will surely know better how to define the feelings and needs that could come to the surface within this global crisis.

Mediation and the perception of personal health

However, as a mediator dealing with conflicts in private and public health care, I do quite clearly perceive these changes and their side effects.

Weeks full of thinking about an invisible and seemingly omnipresent virus in our everyday life, language and media did and still do have implications on the way we all define our personal comfort zone.

The feedback from clients, mediation colleagues or even management consultants supports me in that view.

Therefore, I wish to point out the significance of individual “health perceptions” for the often-mentioned “new normal”, i.e. the after-Corona working and private world.

4 major individual health perceptions

The corona crisis has made it clear how essential it is for employees, employers, private individualsto pay special attention to personal health concepts ranging from:

  • “my health status is never a problem to me” to
  • “my health status is a problem, but I can manage on my own” to
  • “my health status is a problem, but what can I do?” to
  • “I’m not quite sure how to judge my health status”
  • … and variations in-between.

Individual notions of well being, security, and protection

They are the fundaments for individual notions of well being, security, and protection. They need to be considered by employers with regard to their teams, where many are suddenly finding themselves in a much-changed working environment compared to before the crisis. They also need to be considered by the management of care homes with regard to the individual expectations of residents, their relatives and employees.

Honestly, I want my surroundings to recognize them as important for me, too.

The virus crisis made private health a public topic

The different concepts of how we perceive our individual health requirements are prone to cause conflicts in many areas of work and life, which are being re-arranged, adapted and tested during these days.

For mediators, it seems that a whole new world of previously unknown challenges and demands for creative solutions has emerged ever since the word of the virus has (virtually) spread.

Thus, being aware of individual health perceptions and keeping them in mind during a mediation session is something I consider as an essential expansion of the ever growing area of mediation.

It should not be neglected in the mediator’s glossary during the Corona crisis – it should also not be missed in the future.

More thoughts (in German) on individual health perceptions and their relations to personal needs and well-being can be found on the webpage of IMUG e.V. (Initiative Medizin und Gesundheit e.V./Initiative Medicine and Health e.V.):
Dr. Heinz Pilartz:  

Wer ich bin

Als zertifizierte Mediatorin bin ich spezialisiert auf außergerichtliche Konfliktklärung im Umfeld von Gesundheit, Erkrankung und Pflege.

Über Schulungen und Projektmanagement unterstütze ich Menschen dabei, Konflikte und schwierige Situationen eigenverantwortlich und gewaltfrei zu lösen – beruflich wie privat.


Unterstütze mich in meiner Arbeit und teile diesen Beitrag.

Marja Költzsch

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Nicole Leupold



Marja Költzsch


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