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Broadening the Vision with Polarity Mapping

I have seen polarity maps and heard the theory before however today’s session, for me, was an opportunity to bring depth and understanding of more of the subtleties and nuances of doing this work. This was a pracademic exploration of the theory and practise combined – which not only gave me a greater understanding of the depth to the concept but also practical tools about how to use this in my work as a mediator and a consultant.

As a mediator I frequently have clients who have very definite views, opinions and perspectives on situations.... and those perspectives are typically diametrically opposed to the perspectives of others involved in the same situation. And no matter who you speak to, everyone considers that THEIR perspective is right... and the others are WRONG... For people caught up in their story about what is happening it is often difficult for them to see any value in the perspective of the 'others'. Instead it is more likely that those perspectives will be dismissed as invalid, incorrect, and in extreme cases the others may be labeled as trouble makers, the source of the problem, incompetent or even liars...

When people are adamant about the rightness of their position and equally adamant about the wrongness of other's perspectives it can be difficult to engage the parties to the conflict in an open, constructive and productive discussion about the negative aspects of the ways in which they are addressing the situation. I was intrigued when I listened to Cliff's presentation on Polarity Mapping by its potential to open up discussions that might not otherwise happen. There are frequently topics of conversation related to the conflict that are non-discussable... when used carefully and with skill, I believe Polarity Mapping has the potential to provide a bridge between the non-discussables and the conversations that need to happen in order to resolve the conflict. Thank you for that Cliff - it is a valuable take-away that I will explore using with client groups...

Posted by Ruth Sirman, CanMediate International


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