OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Mirror Imaging

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Mirrors are devices that allow people to see themselves the way others see them. Mirror imaging is a technique designed to help people see how their approach to conflict looks to others. Mirror imaging does not require that the parties follow a lot of complicated procedures and tricks. It simply requires that they to put aside their prejudices and stereotypes and, at least temporarily, look at the world from the perspective of others. This techniques helps people understand why proposals that may seem perfectly reasonable to them are viewed as unacceptably selfish by others. It also helps people understand why strategies that a party thinks are reasonable and moderate are viewed as provocative and inflammatory by others.

Mirror building requires the parties to temporarily suspend judgement, and to view others, especially their opponents, in a sympathetic light. Once judgement is suspended, the parties can either engage in direct dialogues or related processes which allow them to talk to one another. They can also read written documents describing different views of the conflict or they can simply, honestly, think about how they would feel if the situation was reversed.

Not only can this lead to constructive reframing of the conflict, this approach can help the parties more reasonably assess the potential effectiveness of alternative force, exchange, and integrative strategies as well as the risk of the backlash effect.

This type of introspection often teaches people things about themselves that they wish were not true. In that sense it is an indispensable part of efforts to build a more constructive future.


Links to Examples of Mirror Imaging:

Estrada-Hollenbeck -- Understanding Forgiveness
This interesting article about forgiveness suggest that people who are able to focus on the way the other side feels are more likely to be able to forgive--and benefit from doing so--that those who do not.


Links to Related Approaches:

Fairness-Based Framing

Opening Lines of Communication

Active Listening


Links to Related Problems

Not My Problem

Inaccurate and Overly Hostile Stereotypes

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu