Name, Position and Company
Jill Goldson - Director, Therapeutic Mediator and Researcher, The Family Matters Centre Auckland.
My career journey started when, as an 8-year-old in the north of England, I read a book from my parents' bookshelf called The Shorn Lamb by John Stroud. Written by a front-line community social worker about his work and experiences in Northern England, I knew immediately that that was what I wanted to do.
A decade and a half later I had graduated with a master's degree in Applied Social Practice at Auckland University, on the other side of the world.
I worked in social work and counselling in diverse locations, a hospital in Auckland, community groups and community social work teaching in Melbourne, front line social work in London, stints on the radio, and a telephone crisis service for at risk children (Childline) in London.
Back in NZ I undertook a 12-year academic post teaching counselling and social work, and writing curriculum for a bachelor's degree. Following this I opened my own business, The Family Matters Centre where I conduct my private practice and publish my research. I see private clients and also those referred by the Family Court. I also train industry professionals on best practice for families in transition. I have been invited to teach by MOJ, mediation organisations and universities, both in NZ and overseas.
I have received a number of contestable awards for my work and practice and was made a Churchill Fellow in 2007, and a Fellow of the Resolution Institute in 2022.
I have received an award for academic development (RI) and also for further research (Borrin Institute, Law Foundation) and have presented on invitation to 27th World Summit in Milan and also given lectures and workshops in the Berlin Institute of Mediation, at the invitation of its professors (2019) and taught in London for Child and Family Advice and Support Service (Cafcass) at the invitation of their CEO.
I consult for Ministry of Justice on matters of family law and was invited to sit on the 2019 government family justice review (Te Korowai Ture a-Whanau) Expert Reference group (ERG) as a mediator.
I continue to research and am currently reviewing models for management of parental alienation and am completing a teaching model which will be offered free of charge as an online training in the first half of this year.
I think those of us who have chosen to work in mediation and its allied fields are very lucky. I liken it to making a choice to get on a train and to see where it travels. The stops are diverse and yet interconnected – and the language and culture one picks up from one destination to the next simply enrich the experience of each place. It can be a vibrant and fast paced career, one which is constantly fed and refreshed by social change and the challenge to stay flexible and aware for both ourselves and our clients.
Favourite way to unplug from work
Exercise – from long walks to swimming and being at the gym, being in my 3-year-old grandson's world of fantasy, and our adventures walks and talks together, spending time with close friends and family, talking and listening to them.
If you could ask other mediators in the room one question, what would it be?
What qualities in a mediator do you, yourself, imagine would be the most helpful in your own situation?
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