Conflict Imagery: Developing a Reflective Framework
by Dr. Kiley Fleming
Bookpress Publishing

"There is no more critical a situation in which to use creative, lighthearted communication than in the management of conflict."

Fleming has been a professional mediator and the executive director for Iowa Mediation Services since 2015. In her role, she serves individuals, families, and farm organizations, consulting with the public to achieve dispute management goals. Mediation is as much an art as a science, and this book is aimed at a niche readership already trained in mediation or aspiring to train as mediators. The fundamentals of the subject aren’t included but much can be surmised from the narrative even though it’s specifically focused on developing the imagery and script of conflict resolution. To convey the premises of conflict management, mediators develop personal “stories” that help create a shared understanding with students and parties involved in mediation, making it a reciprocal process.

Because it is human nature to communicate through metaphor and imagery, the volume’s eighteen chapters are dedicated to ensuring that the mediators understand their own personalities and internal imagery and how to convey these ideas. “When we identify the unique imagery and illustrations that inform our beliefs about conflict, we become more aware of the ways in which we deal with it,” Fleming writes. As the narrative evolves through the many details of developing and communicating one’s conflict imagery and script to students or parties in mediation, the author offers valuable teaching tools in the form of “Imagery Touchpoints”—questions to aid the process—and “Imagery Snapshots”— statements that clarify the premise of each chapter. Fleming’s engaging prose is articulate, as one would expect of a professional mediator, but is also accessible to beginning students or casual readers. The author appeals to readers early on with her intent to “[infuse] levity and personal experience with professional research along the way.”

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