Issues of self and identity raise profound and often painful questions about who we are. Psychoanalytic developmental theory considers these questions by analyzing the way the sense of self develops in childhood. On the other hand, many spiritual traditions insist that however it develops, the In recent years, there have been some important attempts to bridge the gap between these two positions. Yet, the nature of the self and its identity still remains a fundamental mystery. This article considers the self from these perspectives, and others, including neuroscience and social psychology, within the context of mediation. On a psychological level, parties in mediation typically move through a cycle of narcissistic inflation, deflation, and then, hopefully, realistic resolution. I call this the IDR cycle. This process demands strength of self on a basic, simple, healthy ego level, especially at the outset. Parties strive to be equal to the task. However, during impasse and other "critical moments," if the parties wish to reach resolution, they may have to release their psychological investments in the outcome of the negotiation. Thus, the capacity to let go is also a critical aspect of the psychology of mediation. The mediator's own issues of self and identity will also arise during mediation. During critical moments, the mediator, too, may have to release the sense of narcissistic self-investment in the outcome. Thus, our usefulness as mediators will often depend on the extent to which we have learned to deal with issues of self and identity, not only in others, but in ourselves.
Elizabeth E. Bader,
The Psychology of Mediation: Issues of Self and Identity and the IDR Cycle,
10 Pepp. Disp. Resol. L.J.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/drlj/vol10/iss2/1