When Stories Clash: Addressing Conflict with Narrative Mediation
by Gerald Monk & John Winslade
Taos Institute Publications, 2013
Price: $20.00 US plus shipping and handling
Paperback, 150 pages
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Gerald Monk and John Winslade have written a series of books and articles on narrative conflict resolution. This one is intended to give practitioners an accessible window into the skills of narrative practice. In the stories that people tell about conflict, the relationship narrative is commonly shaped to fit the conflict story. But there are always other relationship stories that can be told. This book shows how to find and grow a counter story to the conflict story and to help people make choices about which story they want to perform. Inviting people to shift from a fraught relationship story to one that is more just, peaceful or cooperative is at the heart of narrative mediation. As you might expect, this is a book of engaging stories as well as robust concepts. It shows, it instructs, and it guides. Designed to be able to be read in one sitting, it is, in the end, a book that begs to be used.
About the authors:
Dr. Gerald Monk is a Professor in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology at San Diego State University, an Associate of the Taos Institute, and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. Gerald also works as a founding partner, trainer, and consultant for MGL Healthcare Communications and Conflict Transformation to address high stakes conflicts when medical error occurs. Gerald worked as a psychologist and mediator in New Zealand for fifteen years prior to moving to the United States. Gerald has a strong interest in promoting constructionist theories and expanding the applications of narrative mediation. Gerald has taught numerous workshops on mediation in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He was a recipient of the Fred J. Hansen Grant for Peace Studies to conduct mediation workshops in Cyprus.
He has co-authored numerous articles and books translated in nearly a half a dozen languages. Some of the books include Narrative Therapy in Practice: The Archaeology of Hope (1997), Narrative mediation: A new approach to conflict resolution (2000), New Horizons in Multicultural Counseling (2008) and Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the grip of conflict (2008).
John Winslade (PhD) is an Associate of the Taos Institute and a Professor at California State University San Bernardino. He teaches school counseling and is the Associate Dean of the College of Education at CSUSB. He was previously for ten years at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, where he still teaches part-time.
He has also taught mediation at California State University Dominguez Hills in an adjunct capacity. He is a regular contributor to the teaching programs of the Dispuk Institute in Denmark and the Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
John has been a co-author of nine books on narrative therapy, narrative mediation and multicultural counseling, as well as many articles and book chapters. His work has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German and Danish.
His background includes working as a school counselor, youth worker, family therapist and mediator. He is an experienced presenter who has taught narrative therapy and mediation in North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.
He can be contacted at email@example.com.
This work brilliantly and briefly illuminates the essentials of one of the most significant movements in mediation of the era. Inspiring reading not only for those engaged in mediation, but for all concerned with the challenges of human conflict.
-- Kenneth Gergen, Ph.D. & Mary Gergen, Ph.D.
Swarthmore College, Penn State University, Brandywine
This Book might seem small. But it is great! It is so useful in practice - filled with many illustrative examples. It is based on the basic concepts and practices from Michael Whites "Narrative Therapy" and on Michel Foucaults revolutionary poststructuralist philosophy. The authors put it this way: "We assume that people give coherence to their lives and relationships by developing stories about them. Conflicts between individuals or groups are impacted by the wider social forces that give shape to the stories by which we live." And this point of departure: "...directs us to understand how each person's responses are produced out of the forces at work between people. These forces include the ways in which people seek to influence (or succeed in influencing) each other or the ways in which attempts to influence each other break down into conflict. Any relation of mutual influence is in this sense a power relation." The book represents a beautiful example of using poststructuralist ideas in practical mediation. It is highly recommended.
-- Allan Holmgren, director DISPUK, adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Having founded the field of narrative mediation, Monk and Winslade use this book to increase our collective understanding of counterstories and their role in transforming conflicts. Their genius lies not only in their framework for describing narrative dynamics in a mediation process, but also in making this practice accessible, and fascinating. They describe and exemplify how we can engage stories in a way that support their evolution, and free people from the constraints of their stories. In this way, they also contribute to the evolution of mediation itself.
-- Sara Cobb, Ph.D., Professor, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and Director, The Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution @ George Mason University