For those who want to supplement basic mediation training with hands-on experience, CDSC offers a supervised mediation program, like an apprenticeship, called a Practicum. Newly-trained and less experienced mediators are provided an opportunity to:

  • Observe actual mediations.
  • Co-mediate with more experienced mediators.
  • Receive supervision and feedback to improve skills.

Getting Started

Choose to begin your Practicum with 5 or 10 sessions, with the option to extend your experience in 5-session increments.  If you sign up for 5 sessions, we ask that you complete the Practicum within 6 months. If you sign up for 10 sessions we ask that you complete the Practicum within 12 months. Within those constraints, the schedule is flexible to meet your needs. 
5 sessions Fee: $300
10 sessions Fee: $500 [$450*]

* Reduced fee is available for newly-trained mediators who participate in CDSC's Mediation Training and enroll within 2 months of completion.

Prerequisite: At least 30 hours of an SJC-approved Mediation Training

How it Works

Mediation sessions are held mornings in various courts. The level of each court's case activity is unpredictable; some days there may be 3 or 5 cases, sometimes no cases. If you are accepted into the Practicum, you will be contacted by the Supervisor to set up your start date.

We offer a flexible schedule to accommodate your individual needs and interests. Fee is payable in full (or in installments by arrangement). Your Practicum begins with observing mediation sessions. When you and your Supervisor agree you are ready, you will co-mediate with your Supervisor or another experienced mediator. After observing and co-mediating, you will have the opportunity to debrief and ask questions, hear different viewpoints, develop an understanding of when and why experienced mediators intervene, explore impasses and strategies for resolution, and develop skills to critique your own and others' performances.

During your Practicum, you will hear about seminars, conferences, supervision opportunities and other community activities available at CDSC. Upon completion of your Practicum, you may apply to be an affiliate with CDSC to be on our roster of volunteer mediators.

Practicum Supervisor

Doug Thompson has a background in environmental protection, dispute resolution, and management. As a senior mediator and facilitator at CBI, recent casework has included matters related to drinking water concerns, marine mammal concerns, tribal efforts to protect wetlands, chemical weapons clean-up, state-federal interactions, the credibility of sustainable product claims, pandemic flu planning, mountaintop mining conflicts, and endangered species.

Prior to CBI, he worked for eight years at The Keystone Center, based in Colorado and also spent over 25 years with the US Environmental Protection Agency in various technical and management capacities. As part of EPA’s dispute resolution program, he served as a mediator and facilitator for a number of environmental issues and also worked on assignment to the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in Tucson, Arizona. He has mediated extensively in the Massachusetts court system, is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Massachusetts Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution, and has experience mediating workplace and family disputes. Doug also has worked as a court supervisor and senior mediation trainer with Metropolitan Mediation Services in Brookline, MA. He is a long-time practitioner of tai chi chuan and an enthusiastic (though not good) chess player.

If you have questions or wish to observe prior to signing up, contact Doug Thompson, District Court Supervisor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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