An integral part of Moving Beyond Violence is this ten part series of short pedagogic films exploring Palestinian and Israeli identity in light of a conflict resolution intervention called “The Ethical Mindset”. Developed by relational psychotherapist and peace activist Irris Singer, “The Ethical Mindset” is a multi-stage guided process designed to help in stepping out of denial, overcoming perpetrator/victim identities, diminishing trauma, and ending violence. Dr Jessica Benjamin of New York University offers her insightful commentary on the psycho-political processes behind the stories of our protagonists.

Workshop Intro

Moving Beyond Violence Workshops


Moving Beyond Violence has been designed principally as a teaching film. To enable the film to be used in conflict resolution and peace work across a range of educational and community settings, we have developed a series of 10 workshops to accompany the individual scenes of the film. Each workshop has a section for group facilitators with ‘Issues to Explore’. Facilitators will find practical suggestions highlighted. 

Below we offer an overview of ways into thinking about and using the film with participants in the context of a group.

The film material is complex and can be approached from many angles depending on the needs of participants and the context in which you are working. For example:

The Social, Economic, Cultural

  • group histories and collective narratives
  • socially constructed perpetrator/victim identities
  • complexity of relationships between individuals and groups with different collective narratives.

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESSES of child rearing and attachment patterns. Also peace seeking: secure base, empathy, recognition, trust, agency, denial, dissociation, splitting and projection; sense of self and worth; stepping out of denial and out of violence. The social and political processes and impact of denial and stepping out of it.

THE ETHICAL MINDSET: a mindset which enables human thriving and allowing engaging thoughts, feelings and particularly behaviours. 

Social and political risks are diminished in the Ethical Mindset. We explore the psychological process of stepping out of denial to promote personal and social wellbeing and how these processes can be encouraged.

The above overlapping approaches can be explored in different ways:

  • A general or theoretical discussion.
  • An exploration through the particular process each of the protagonists goes through in the film. We could think about the individual socio-economic, cultural and political histories of our protagonists, and how they developed into collective narratives.
  • We could approach Video Chapter 1 by thinking about the psychological processes behind the meanings ascribed to collective narratives.
  • Why do we subscribe to collective narratives and why is it so difficult to step out of them?
  • What behaviours might diminish risks to self and other, family and community from warrior type narratives, and enable people to step out of them? How do these behaviours connect with the Ethical Mindset?
  • An exploration using the workshop participants’ own experiences. We leave it to the facilitator/seminar leader to discuss with the participants how safe they feel to discuss their own issues in the workshop. See co-creating a safe base
  • Creating other venues with more diverse audiences for the film material. Bring some of these workshop techniques into this larger wider setting.

Other ways of exploring the above processes – please add your own:

  • You might want to think about the emotional affect this scene has had on you and how you are feeling: where are you feeling it in your body?
  • You might want to think about the historical context and collective narratives.
  • You might want to think about how this material compares with your own political and social context; does this affect your response to the film?
  • What psychological processes might be behind Bassam’s and Itamar’s stories: e.g. denial, dissociation, projection, resilience?
  • How do you think Bassam and Itamar maintain their beliefs and their position in the Ethical Mindset? What is the risk they face?
  • How might internal conflict be experienced? How can the fear of stepping out of denial and the collective narrative be acknowledged and supported e.g. the fear of survival.

Please post comments and suggestions to the Moving Beyond Violence Forum on the website.

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