Community Outreach & Family Meeting Facilitator


Dr. Michael Mailahn works with Elder Law of East Tennessee to provide Family Meeting Facilitation services for clients and their families facing difficult care-related decisions.  He guides parties through stressful discussions, maintaining a respectful decorum to ensure all voices are heard and all ideas are considered.  Michael has worked for the past 15 years for the State of Tennessee conducting complaint resolution, mediation, workplace harassment (Title VII) investigations, and conflict management trainings. Prior to his work with the state of Tennessee, Dr. Mailahn worked in a Chronic Pain Center as a Behavioral Medicine Counselor. There he performed Biofeedback, Relaxation, Imagery and Hypnotherapy sessions for patients wanting/needing to learn coping skills for managing their distress from longstanding pain and suffering.

Dr. Mailahn is a big proponent of community outreach. As such, he has lent his services and expertise—with emphasis on the Access/Visitation and Victim/Offender meditations—to community mediation centers in Tennessee’s Knox and Anderson counties. He has taught volunteer community mediators in Oak Ridge, TN. He has performed as an Ombudsman for for the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA), providing oversight to Knoxville’s Assisted Living centers. In addition, he has served as a Powerful Tools for Caregivers Master Trainer, a program designed for assisting families with the difficulties of caring for their elderly loved ones.

He is a Certified Ombudsman, a Tennessee Supreme Court ADR Rule 31 Mediator, and a Master Trainer of the Powerful Tools for Caregivers (for Adults with Chronic Conditions and Children with Special Needs) course.  Along with the care coordinators at Elder Law of East Tennessee, Dr. Mailahn also teaches the Powerful Tools for Caregivers course offered periodically to ELET clients.

University of Texas San Antonio, BS in Psychology, 1986
St. Mary’s University, MS in Organizational Psychology, 1988

Parker Chiropractic College, Doctorate, 1997

Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Commission
Tennessee Valley Mediation Association
Community Mediation Services

ETHRA Elder Ombudsman Program

Claim to Fame:

I developed a conflict management workshop for my department within state government and have presented it across the state.  Since its introduction, the numbers of complaints received by my department have significantly declined.

What is the problem you are best at solving for your clients?

As with my conflict work for the state, family mediation, and elder ombudsman work in the community, I find myself most helpful to ELET clients by guiding them through difficult decision making processes during family meetings.  I facilitate structured conversations that largely consist of listening with a non-judgmental ear to everyone’s views.  I listen actively, reframe, clarify, and model effective communication techniques with the goal of assuring all voices are heard and all ideas are entertained.

What excites you about your work and the contribution you make to the ELET team?

The families I help often consist of members who are all trying to do the right thing but who have different ideas about what is “right” or how to reach their goals.  It is satisfying to help them reconcile their differences and watch them evolve from a state of conflict to one of cooperation.

What do you love most about ELET?

I really like that ELET has a genuine family feel that seemingly brings out the best in everyone, such that clients are put at ease and find comfort quickly.  Also, it is most gratifying to see clients develop healthy decision-making skills as a result of having taken advantage of learning opportunities (e.g., Powerful Tools for Caregivers) provided at ELET.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

When not at work with the state, at the ELET office, engaging in community mediation work, performing ombudsman duties, or teaching the PTC classes, I can be found sitting with my eyes glued to college football or basketball games…or some other sport-related TV show.

Fun fact:

I produced and hosted a talk show called SA Sports while attending college in San Antonio, Texas.  I was also a Sunday morning DJ for a small radio station in Boerne, Texas, situated near the outskirts of San Antonio.