Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Paula Green

Abstract

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is regarded as an intractable conflict – a lengthy, violent and seemingly insolvable conflict. Social-psychologists assert that individuals and societies entrenched in intractable conflicts develop a problematic psychological infrastructure, which is here termed the Conflict Mindset. Made up of certain attitudes, beliefs, and emotional inclinations, the Conflict Mindset serves as a double-sword: on the one hand it helps the society endure the difficulties of the ongoing conflict; on the other hand it feeds an ever escalating cycle of violence, by promoting narrow and rigid perspectives that block possibilities for change. The Conflict Mindset is only part of a set of psychological barriers that Israeli peacemakers need to grapple with. Other obstacles include denial and despair, Jewish privilege, and fear as a dominant emotional pattern.

Intergroup dialogues have been employed in the Israeli-Palestinian context to promote emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes on the individual, group and society levels. To propose an additional path for dealing with psychological barriers to peace, this capstone project aimed to design and pilot-test an intervention based on work with individuals. The one-on-one setting, combined with empathy, inquiry, and other professional tools from psychotherapy and mindfulness-based approaches, enabled right-wing pilot participants to let go of their defense mechanisms, transform strong feelings, accept new information in regards to the conflict, and adopt some new positions. The new intervention, Mind the Conflict, is presented here, including its basic building blocks and general guidelines for practitioners.

Disciplines

Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | International Relations | Social Psychology and Interaction

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