It is important for the parties to be heard at mediation. However, giving everyone a joint forum to "air out" their feelings often polarizes & heightens emotions. Mediation can still serve as a place for the parties to express their feelings to the mediator, who can (and does) convey those feelings to the other side. Sometimes there is a right time to bring parties together for a specific purpose. This can be explored during mediation. Counsel may also want to try, in preparing for mediation, to find out what their client really needs to get past "stuck" and move toward resolution, and share that with the mediator. Don't get too caught up in "protecting" the client from the mediation process-it may be exactly what the client needs.