CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Mediators and metaphorical analysis: A phenomenological study and integrative theory of family mediators

Department

Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

Publication Date

1-1-2014

Publication Title

Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN or ISBN

1044-4068

Volume

2

Issue

1

First Page

49

Last Page

68

Abstract

Florida family court mediation programs are assessed predominantly with quantitative analyses. A phenomenological approach using metaphorical analysis has unveiled the unique experiences, rich descriptions, and meaning-making of a group of family mediators. Metaphors are considered to be representations of the mental models with which individuals see the world. They typically emerge instinctively and automatically, which make them significant forms of communication analyses. This study is stage two of a two-stage study. Stage two included phenomenological interviews of 22 family mediators and expanded on the earlier stage one study (Storrow and Georgakopoulos, 2013). Stage two revealed that court connected family mediators often described their approaches as being “unique” and private family mediators often expressed negative appraisals in the form of metaphors regarding court staff mediators. Six metaphorical themes emerged in the current study including the following: (1) control, (2) cognition / logic, (3) movement / change, (4) balance, (5) communication, and (6) gender. Together with stage one, this study reflected a contribution to the field of conflict resolution and analysis as it enhanced our understanding of court connected family mediators and allowed us to discover what perceptions were held by private family mediators. Implications of this study were provided.

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