What Psychotherapy Has Done and Can Offer for International Negotiation and Mediation
A fundamental article written by Albert Ellis, published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy in 1992 and entitled “Rational-Emotive Approaches to Peace,” set the first step toward a modern cognitive approach to international relations and to the utilisation of cognitive psychotherapy acquisitions in terms of “social psychotherapy.” In 1994 Aquilar, following the path traced by Ellis, published an article entitled “Psychotherapy for Peace” in which he associated Bowlby’s attachment theory (1969) and Liotti’s cognitive-evolutionist theory (1994; see also Guidano and Liotti, 1983) with Ellis’ strictly rational-emotional aspects, in order to aim at a direct intervention of psychotherapists in the field of peace building. In this field, it is also necessary to refer to Safran’s contribution (Safran & Segal, 1990; Safran & Muran, 2000) on the study of interpersonal processes in communication. These authors have provided a cognitive frame and a conceptual innovation to the interpersonal aspects of international negotiation and mediation. Lately, the contribution of metacognition researchers, who already implemented the comprehension of therapeutic relations (Semerari, 1992), allowed the making of a further forward step toward the comprehension of personal relations during negotiations. In particular, the description of five metarepresentational mind functions (Falcone, Marraffa, & Carcione, 2003), appears to be absolutely necessary in order to have a significant negotiation. Such functions are: identification, decentring, differentiation, integration, and mastery. Finally, the relation between emotional norms and social order, studied by various cognitive sociologists, establishes a new conceptual bridge and an action sphere with the description of “emotional norms” which vary depending on the referring group, and which could be considered the basis of some thought rigidities processes and of “extreme” action projects (Thoits, 2004).
KeywordsCognitive Distortion International Negotiation Automatic Thought Conceptual Innovation Peace Building
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