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Metaphor and Mediation (Footnotes)

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

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

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

Until 1978, there was no publicly available way in the United Kingdom of resolving divorce issues other than by separate legal representation. For a third person to help the divorcing partners work out, co-operatively, the consequences of their parting was revolutionary. The Finer Committee in 1973 recommended such a scheme,… MORE >

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