Dott.ssa Cristina Caparesi;; Dott.ssa Raffaella Di Marzio; Patricia
Millar, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate; Moderator: Michael Kropveld
What is Conflict Resolution and How Does It Differ from Mediation?
Conflict resolution (CR) is a broad term used to describe an array of different ways to address conflict between two entities, whether individual, group, or nation. When interests or ideologies collide, there are ways to move forward that are destructive and there are alternative ways to resolve disputes between human actors, hence
another term used interchangeably with CR, alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation is a method for resolving conflict that involves a neutral third party. Several different approaches to mediation exist, each with different aims, including transformative, facilitative, and evaluative. Other forms of CR include negotiation,
diplomacy, and peace-building efforts.
Some Approaches to Mediation and their Application to Cultic Groups
Dott.ssa Cristina Caparesi
Cultic groups are the scenery for a lot of conflicts both in the inside among their members, and on the outside between cult members and society. In this talk I will describe some approaches to mediation which could be applied to cultic groups‘ conflicts in order to find long-lasting resolutions. The following approaches will be considered: family mediation; mediation for repairing relationships, mediation for cooperation.
1. Family mediation. This is a process through which a mediator helps a couple of ex-spouses to find long-lasting agreements for the education of their children and the right to visit them. This approach is particularly useful in the case of separation/divorce when one member of the couple stays in a religious/cultic group environment and the other one leaves. Finding agreements for the education of children and deciding ways to allow visits to the non-resident parent could prevent parental alienation syndrome.
2. A mediation approach for repairing relationships. This type of mediation applies in all cases where there is a traumatic event which has originated a break. In cultic groups traumatic events may contribute to peers‘ breaking from each other, as in the case of a family and cult member or ex-member/cult-member. In this type of mediation the two parties give their vision of the trauma-inducing situation, express opinions, and ask questions of one another; the mediator‘s role is to help each person find a new shared 47 vision of the event that includes the other person‘s account in a sort of a new narrative that will consider what is common to both of the parties involved.
3. Mediation of cooperation. This is a process of learning that facilitates cooperation among different subgroups of an organization/workplace. It is particularly suitable when systems with different cultural and organizational backgrounds have to cooperate for some reason, e.g., establishing a new organization (even temporary) with common roles and objectives, finding new frames of reference and new objectives, giving voice to all the parties involved, determining the final agreements. Cults, like any other organization, have their own culture, habits, roles that could produce conflicts whenever they have to relate with the outside world. Mediation is not always possible, nor does it always succeed. Much depends on the mediator‘s ability but sometimes also on the parties‘ will or the way the situation evolves.
Mediating to Settle Conflicts in Cultic Groups: Some Useful Methodologies
Dott.ssa Raffaella Di Marzio
This paper reports the author‘s experience giving volunteer assistance and information in a listening centre, and then through a Centre for Online Consultancy and Information in Italy. The paper covers nearly 15 years of experience and is addressed to people involved in cults, to relatives concerned about a loved one affiliated with a cult or new spiritual movement, and to people helping cults‘ victims. The paper gives an overall evaluation of the author‘s experience in mediation attempts among conflicting groups and/or people. The mediation process will be described in three different contexts:
Between concerned parents and affiliated children
Between families and NRMs that children joined
Between NRMs‘ satisfied members and NRMs‘ hostile ex-members