Title

Personal stories and their power to help transform conflict

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard

Abstract

Each of us tells many stories about ourselves. Among the most powerful and potentially destructive stories we tell are our victim stories. Telling our personal stories, and having our victim stories witnessed can heal ourselves and the people around us. In contrast, when we get stuck in our victim stories, we are at risk of acting them out, and harming others and ourselves. This is a heuristic and phenomenological study of 12 ordinary people who had open-ended conversations with me about with me about their experiences of personal storytelling and storylistening. Six of the co-researchers have told and listened to personal stories with the context of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA); the other six co-researchers have told and listened to personal stories in the course of conflict transformation work surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict. I was also interview for the purpose of creating a point of reference. The research showed that personal storytelling and storylistening can be a powerful tool in conflict transformation processes as long as measures are taken to ensure that the personal storytelling and storylistening occur in professionally facilitated environments, which attempt to establish a shared intent, and where measures are taken to eliminate blame, judgement and political agenda.

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