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<xTITLE>Metaphor and Mediation (Footnotes)</xTITLE>

Metaphor and Mediation (Footnotes)

by John Haynes
April 1999

Part One

Part Two
Part Three

1. 1. Haynes, J. M. Fundamentals of Family Mediation, Conflict Resolution Press, Portland Or. 1993

2. 2. At this stage of the game can be a number of different metaphors. It can be a time or a stage of the journey or a game metaphor. The game can be fun or competitive. If it is a fun game then it is less serious than real business. However, the game has an inherent weakness in that if the process is a game then the mediator becomes a referee.

3. 3. A container metaphor suggesting a jail or a box (of the past) that they are locked in.

4. 4. A witch or magic metaphor which separates them from the problem suggesting that they can lift the curse by some action in the mediation.

5. 5. An oblique metaphor depending on the meaning of 'it'. To kill a dragon takes courage, living with a conflict might be like living with dragon. But, if the couple have courage they can 'defeat' the problem. In this sense it becomes closely related to a war metaphor. Or they could take the journey to find the holy grail (the agreement). This is also a paradox, pointing out the pain of their problem and a metaphor that the problem is a pain or an illness.

6. 6. Journey/time metaphor; life is a journey it's time to move on. Taken with the metaphor at 2, being locked in, means you cannot get on with your life.

7. 7. Here I add "not be tied in"(container) thus suggesting they should allow the journey to begin. This metaphor continues the work I have done at 2 and 5.

8. 8. A general spatial metaphor with the parent on each side and the daughter sandwiched in the middle. The image created by this metaphor allows the parents to focus on the daughter and provides them with a sense of the spatial qualities of the problem.

9. 9. A construction metaphor which also suggests the process by which we will solve the problem. It has the same rhythm as step by step.

10. 10. A journey metaphor conveying that we will go into an issue as we go into a room. (or container)

11. 11. A container or some other physical object. You don't actually pick up an idea, you understand it and/or embroider it.

12. 12. A mix: stuck in the middle repeats the general spatial metaphor. It suggest a journey by adding the word 'stuck' i.e. prevented from moving ahead.

13. 13. Person as a book

14. 14. Activity as a physical object that can be shaped.

15. 15. In the sense Allan uses it this is a negative game and signals a joust or other highly competitive game rather than a fun one.

16. 16. Conflict as a competitive game.

17. 17. Husband continues the game metaphor, switching to a more positive one when talking of his own games.

18. 18. An idea as a physical object.

19. 19. An oxymoronic paradox, not a metaphor. This inappropriate description of their anger is designed to gain the attention. For a discussion why this is inappropriate see Haynes, An Alternative View, MQ, Winter **

20. 20. Container as a jail that prevents them from continuing their journey. This repeats the earlier metaphors and adds the adjective 'nonsense' indicating the mediator's view of it.

21. 21. Begin on a journey.

22. 22. A clear statement that the couple must proceed on their journey. It becomes the central metaphor of the mediator from this point on.

23. 23. Problem as a piece of broken machinery.

24. 24. A euphemism for 'born', an odd choice since it separates Maureen from the birth. It suggests a view of life as fixed and unchanging. In this sense it is an organizing metaphor as we see as the session unfolds, Maureen seems unable/unwilling to make any changes.

A German metaphor. I can't jump over my own shadow, has a similar purpose. It refers to the dark side of the person and their inability change and is a perfect metaphor for the status quo. One could think about moving to a specific latitude at a specific month and time to get the shadow perfectly beneath the person so they can jump on their own shadow. But change probably comes from a different metaphor all together.

25. 25. Problem as a body with physical reactions. The past is viewed as war with casualties to be put at rest.

26. 26. Mediator returns to the journey and locates the past. This is a spatial/time metaphor. In general, past and down metaphors are bad and future and up metaphors are good. (Lakoff and Johnson)

27. 27. Problem as an asset (or liability) depending on their view of the market! This is also a 'time is money' metaphor.

28. 28. Return to the journey.

29. 29. The goal, as a destination, is added to suggest the total journey.

30. 30. This is a weight metaphor. Think of a set of scales and you add a weight (add to the resolution) to the right side of the scales to get a balanced agreement.

31. 31. This might refer to his claim that the child support is all paid up or a metaphor for a view of life as an investment.

32. 32. A return to the journey metaphor. Specifically uses the Chinese concept, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

33. 33. Mother-in-law as a short-order cook.

34. 34. Probably comes from the game of tug-of-war where the player must put her foot down to prevent being dragged over the line.

35. 35. This is an example of a metaphorical story. The mediator takes a life experience and shares it with the mother as a way of telling her that she cannot have the type of control over behavior that she would like to have.

36. 36. The larger view metaphor - relationship as a snapshot using the same metaphor as the wife at 24.

37. 37. Life is a journey and our problems are carried in our suitcases.

38. 38. Staying with the journey metaphor the mediator switches to see if they could think of a small step for the other to take.

39. 39. To match the small step, the mediator uses a container or trinket metaphor reminding each of them how small it is. They are not asked to do anything significant.

40. 40. The journey has been reversed.

41. 41. Activity as a skill.

42. 42. Problem as a construction or building; they erect the problem.

43. 43. If the previous metaphor is understood in terms of construction, this one adds to it, perhaps seeing it as a tent with the parents creating the tension on the guy lines.

44. 44. These two metaphors give the couple a choice of cooperating around the problem continuing the construction metaphors in the previous two notes, perhaps walking around the future construction; a pleasure they can share. The other choice is to continue fighting over the problem.

45. 45. This is a time metaphor - so far - which places the responsibility on them for selecting the war metaphor. In using 'so far' the mediator also suggests the future can change.

46. 46. The context of the metaphor suggest it was a problem as a negative game.

47. 47. Action as a fence.

48. 48. Problem as a tool.

49. 49. Struggle is a war metaphor. In a different context it could be positive as in the struggle to get the job done.

50. 50. Problem as a scale.

51. 51. The problem as machine metaphor.

52. 52. The conflict as a war with the child in no-man's land. See also 7 and 11.

53. 53. This maintains the journey; moving along parallel lines.

54. 54. Stuck in the past or in a mire on the journey.

55. 55. A return to the journey metaphor

56. 56. A repeat of the journey metaphor with a paradoxical question as to whether they want to stay there or move forward.


John Haynes
passed away in December 1999. The founding president of the AFM, he authored three books. His book, The Fundamentals of Family Mediation, has been published in eight different countries in five languages. He trained over 20,000 professionals in twenty countries.