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Narrative Mediation : A New Approach to Conflict Resolution 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787941925
ISBN-10: 0787941921
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Editorial Reviews


"A groundbreaking book bringing together ideas of social constructionist theory, narrative therapy, and mediation. The authors develop a very clear framework toward understanding this approach with case examples provided. I found this book useful to me both as a practitioner and as a researcher." (Jerry Gale, director, MFT Doctoral Program, Department of Child and Family Development, The University of Georgia, Co-PI Mediator Skills ProjectJerry Gale, director of the MFT Doctoral Program, Department of Child and Family Development, The University of Georgia, Co-PI Mediator Skills Project)

"An important "must-read" for anyone who is contemplating mediation. John Winslade and Gerald Monk are consummately qualified to bring us this book that is rich in a social constructionist understanding and revolutionary in approach. Focusing on stories of respect, mutuality, consideration, and support, their suggestions can only lead to new possibilities of peaceful coexistence--on both personal and global levels." (Victoria C. Dickerson, cofounder, planet-therapy.com and coauthor, If Problems Talked: Narrative Therapy in Action)

From the Inside Flap

Most professionals trained to resolve conflicts ground their efforts in the theory that people are motivated by a desire to fulfill their personal interests. Mediators work to assist disputing parties by discovering a shared interest, which will motivate each party to resolve their conflicts. However, despite the widespread use of this traditional problem-solving, interest-based model of conflict resolution, incidents of violence, international hostilities, and legal disputes continue to escalate worldwide.In this book, John Winslade and Gerald Monk introduce narrative mediation-a new paradigm in the field of conflict resolution and a radical departure from the traditional interest-based, problem-solving approach to resolving disputes. Winslade and Monk reveal how this innovative approach, which seeks out the conflicting parties' individual stories, can be applied to create lasting resolution for a wide variety of conflicts. At the heart of narrative mediation lies the goal of developing a context for creating a relationship that is incompatible with conflict. This transformed relationship is built on stories of understanding, respect, and collaboration.Using actual scenarios from their mediation practice, Winslade and Monk show how the mediation context is filled with strong cultural narratives influenced by ethnicity, gAnder, class, education, and financial status. The narrative mediation technique guides professionals and their clients to make sense of the complex social contexts that shape conflicts, and ultimately helps to create new possibilities for change. In accessible, everyday language, the authors reveal how to build a trusting relationship with the disputing parties, map the effects of the history of the conflict, construct new solution-bound narratives, and finally move toward consensus and resolution.Written for therapists, counselors, professional mediators, lawyers, students, and trainees in the field of dispute resolution, Narrative Med

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787941921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787941925
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The authors offer an alternative to the typical problem-solving approach to mediation. The narrative mediation process has three phases: engagement, deconstructing the conflict-saturated story and constructing an alternative story. In the second phase, the mediator attempts to separate the parties from the conflict-saturated story. The mediator seeks gently to undermine the perceived certainties on which the conflicts feeds. In the third phase, the mediator helps craft an alternative story that may lead to settlement of the conflict, but should lead to the development of cooperation and respect between the parties. Narrative mediation also incorporates the idea that people construct stories about the conflict that relate to the cultural "narratives" or stories that form around ethnicity, gender, class, education and financial wealth. Thus, men may bring to a divorce mediation a sense of entitlement based on cultural stories about gender roles. Whites may bring to a dispute a sense of entitlement based on cultural stories about race. The mediator may also bring these stories of entitlement into the process. I especially liked the lengthy role plays used to illustrate specific points. I have also used in my mediation practice the techniques for documenting progress. Letters to the parties at different stages of the process can serve as mileposts in the mediation journey, acknowledging the parties' committment to the process, tracing the effects of the dispute on the parties' lives and well-being, putting the conflict into a meaningful sequence of events, highlighting potential outcomes that the parties have begun to explore, reinforcing process agreements, recording agreements the parties have reached up to that time and preventing slippage back into entrenched positions or conflict-saturated stories. This book was not an easy read, but it has been very useful in my practice.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Winslade and Gerald Monk are two social constructionists out of New Zealand who, according to their own jacket flap, are "leading figures" in the narrative therapy movement. Their's is an interesting book with an interesting thesis: instead of seeing mediation as a problem-solving process where competing interests are resolved, they see it as a process where competing "stories" (or narratives) of the conflict are "deconstructed" and an alternate story is reconstructed. That alternate story is fashioned in large part out of a recognition of the culturally-influenced power relationships between the dispuiting parties, and with awareness of the cultural biases of the mediator as well. This theory specifically acknowledges one of the real weaknesses with conventional mediation, which is that mediators often struggle to maintain the detached neutrality that is expected of them. The narrative approach also seeks to recalibtate the relationship between the disputants instead of simply solving a particular problem.

This grounding in social constuctionist theory is both the strentgh and limitation of this book. First of all, the book is a bit jargonistic in places, as befitting a text with this philosophical underpinning. I would have enjoyed less of the philosophical treatise and more extensive real world examples of how this kind of mediation would actually work in practice. In addition, there is a problem with the theory itself, and that is that it blurs the traditional distinction between mediation and therapy. Since both authors emerged from the Mediation Therapy movement, this may be inevitable, but it is nontheless problematic. While mediation that has a therapeutic objective may be useful at times in settings like divorce mediation (or other disputes where the parties are likely to maintain long-standing relationships), it is not likely to be appropriate in a business setting or for the resolution of small-claim type disputes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In one of the finest general mediation books I have ever read, Winslade and Monk present a new perspective on the mediation of disputes. In a departure from the more structured models of mediation presented in the past, these authors introduce a revolutionary approach to the manner in which mediation is approached.
Their theory basically shows conflicts in light of the "life discourse" that people bring to the dispute. The application of "Narrative Mediation" is embodied in the concept, that it is the "story of how the conflict developed" from all parties perspective that is the MOST relevant factor in the deconstruction of the actual underlying issues which make up the conflict presented in each case. The mediator's role, is to allow the parties to describe these factors and through their stories, to reveal their personal positions and their personal influences of their lives that have created the situation and also, give commentary, albeit often unwittingly, as to the manner in which an "Alternative Story" can be developed, that will allow those parties to reconstruct a relationship and a resolution.
While it is certainly true, that the method suggested by Winslade and Monk in their book is more effective when the parties will have an ongoing relationship, it still represents a new and fresh look at the ways in which mediators help facilitate the solutions to the presenting problems.
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