This initial step of the mediation process begins with a joint session. At the beginning of the joint session, the mediator clarifies his/her role in the mediation process and those of the parties. Next, each party to the dispute tells his or her side of the story without interruption. Following the joint session, the mediator meets with each party separately- this is known as a caucus which is designed to discuss the issues in greater detail and to gain a better sense of how the parties would like the issues resolved. During the individual caucuses, the mediator attempts to help the parties identify relevant issues, dismiss possible misconceptions based on inadequate or lack of information, and try to find a meaningful way to solve their problem that benefits both parties. After the caucuses, the mediator meets again with the parties jointly and encourages the parties to discuss their issues using interest-based techniques.