Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Charlene Desir

Third Advisor

Judith McKay

Abstract

The field of mediation has emerged as one of the premier tools in the peacemaking process. While mediation has grown in popularity and become widely accepted in the judicial court system and corporate America, very few studies have focused on how mediators are impacted by the conflict resolution process. Moreover, few studies have focused on the role of spiritual self-care on the mediator. This research study explored how mediators who identify as spiritual integrate their spirituality in their own self-care practice. In order for mediation to continue as one of the most important tools in the peacemaking process, mediators of today and the future must have effective and beneficial self-care practices to perform professionally at a high level. This study utilized transcendental phenomenology to capture the lived experiences of 11 conflict professionals who incorporate spirituality into their self-care practices. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore how they practiced self-care and the essence of what spiritual self-care entailed. The major themes identified in this study were: (a) mediators spiritual practices were used as tools for preparation and protection in conflict work, (b) spiritual practices invoked deep and meaningful feelings of connectedness, and (c) that spiritually identifying mediators began to embody the same practices they used. Essentially, spiritual self-care was vital to being effective in their professional lives. Mediators were able to offer deep value to their clients through their spirituality and simultaneously found deep value in their spiritual self-care practices. The research was significant, as it allowed for a deeper understanding of conflict practitioners and could benefit the personal and professional growth of the mediation field.

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