Florida family court mediation programs have typically been assessed with quantitative analysis. To understand the complexity of the experience of being a family mediator, it was necessary to explore how mediators practiced through qualitative research. Metaphors have been considered to be representations of mediators' mental models regarding conflict. Mediation has been defined in ways such as a journey or the peeling of layers from an onion. Metaphorical analysis of the concepts that guided a group of Florida family court mediators provided insight into how they experienced their practice. Stage one produced a general understanding using statewide questionnaires of family mediators' conflict metaphors. Stage two included interviews of family court mediators. Findings revealed how these mediators defined their experiences based on metaphorical understandings. A phenomenological approach provided a rich understanding of the mediators' lived experiences and led to a more accurate picture of their metaphorical concepts, the systems within which they practiced, and opportunities for training. The family mediators used predominantly negative metaphors for conflict and parties, and positive ones for mediation and themselves. And, many private mediators used negative metaphors regarding court staff mediators' skill levels. The findings were underscored and presented as major categories and subcategories of metaphors including mediation as a “journey,” “business,” and “education.”
|School:||Nova Southeastern University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Linguistics, Peace Studies, Alternative Dispute Resolution|
|Keywords:||Family courts, Mediators|
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