Narratives and Storytelling

Uses of Narratives and Storytelling

Sarah Cobb discusses the use of narratives to cope with violence.
Suzanne Ghais recommends that mediators explore the past in order to better understand parties' perspectives.
Robert Stains describes dialogue as a way to enrich parties' narratives about conflict.

Narrative Facilitation and Mediation

Sarah Cobb, from George Mason University, developed the concept of "narrative mediation" and has practiced that approach extensively. Sarah describes that approach in many of the following segments, supplemented by comments from others who use similar processes.

Sarah Cobb describes the process of "narrative facilitation."
Sarah Cobb discusses the ways in which people typically frame their stories about conflict.
Sarah Cobb describes her goals as an intervenor as helping people reframe their narratives.
Sarah Cobb further describes the importance of framing values clearly in one's narratives.
Enriching the narratives is also important. Here Sarah Cobb talks about ways to enrich people's narratives and get to the underbelly of conflict.
Sarah Cobb explores circular questions and appreciative inquiry as non-threatening methods to enrich people's narratives.

Narratives and Stories in Dialogue Processes

Stories are also a key ingredient in dialogue processes.

Tamra d'Estrée explains how she finds the personal healing that occurs in some dialogues to be particularly inspiring.
Robert Stains discusses the power of storytelling and dialogue.
Máire Dugan talks about how dialogue practitioners can create a space that's safe enough for participants to develop new insights.
John Paul Lederach recounts examples of the value of storytelling from Pakistan, the Balkans, and Africa.
John Paul Lederach describes his conception of storytelling as a personal reflection on a situation.

Case Examples

Indira Kajosevic talks about RACOON's work with trauma victims from the Balkans.
Julia Chaitin talks about a Palestinian-Israeli joint history textbook.
Mark Chupp describes how he used appreciative inquiry to positively influence race relations in a community conflict in Ohio.
Eileen Babbitt discusses an application of what is called a "to reflect and trust" (TRT) process amongst Arab Israelis and Jews that aims to train facilitators. From there, the goal is to develop consensus building and problem solving skills.
Julia Chaitin who has worked extensively in the TRT project that Eileen Babbitt described says listening to "the others'" stories can be difficult, but valuable.