Many issues that a mediator deals with are not the real issues. Often times the stated issues are really a battleground for deeper issues, most often issues of power and control. Does it truly matter which person gets a $10 item in a personal property dispute? And yet at times divorcing couples spend more time debating who gets such an item than other items much more valuable. Who gets control over the item seems more important than the item itself.
Sometimes a mediator can address these issues directly, often times not. The best way to address them is to simply hold up a mirror to the disputing couple by asking questions or even offering solutions that may subtly point out the absurdity. Great care must be taken to make certain the couple does not take offense from such humor, however. A careful reading of individuals and their stress level is needed.