Addressing the Emotional Needs of Conflicting Individuals and Groups as a Key to Reconciliation



According to the Needs-Based Model, transgressions impair victims' sense of agency and perpetrators' moral image. An empowering or accepting message from the other conflict-party may address victims' and perpetrators' need to restore their positive identities and consequently open them to reconciliation. I will present empirical evidence that supports the model's hypotheses in various contexts, including interpersonal transgressions, violent conflicts (e.g., the Holocaust), and structural inequality. I will then discuss the applicability of the model to contexts characterised by duality of social roles; namely, conflicts in which both parties repeatedly transgress against each other and compete over the status of the conflict's "real" victim (e.g., the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). To conclude with an optimistic note, I will present various strategies that has been shown to address dual conflict-parties' needs, leading to reduced competitive victimhood and increased pro-social behaviour.

Dr. Nurit Shnabel received her PhD in social psychology from Tel-Aviv University. Her dissertation, in which she has formulated the Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation, received the International Association for Conflict Management (IACM) Best Dissertation Award. After completing her post-doctoral studies as a Fulbright Foundation Exchange Scholar at Yale University she joined the faculty of the School of Psychological Sciences at Tel-Aviv University in 2010. Her work has been published in leading social psychological journals including the JPSP, PSPB, JESP, EJSP, SIPR, JSI, JSPP,JSI, and PSPR. In addition, Dr. Shnabel did her practicum in group facilitation in the Neve-Shalom/Wahat al-Salam school for peace and has facilitated encounters between adversarial groups in Israel intended to promote constructive intergroup dialogue.