Further supporting the notion that mediators can assist disputants in understanding conflict in terms of metaphor Wilmot and Hocker (2001, pp 16-26) discuss sixteen common metaphors. These can be used to approach conflict or to form one’s perspective on conflict (conflict seen as warlike or violent, as explosive, as a court trial, as a struggle, force of nature, animal behavior, as a mess, as communications breakdown, as a game, as heroic adventure, balancing, bargaining, a tide, garden, dance, or as quilt making). Their discussion is interesting, not just because they describe so many metaphors, giving entailed characteristics and language examples, but also because they point out which are constructive to the resolution of conflict and which are not. This is a useful account of the constraining and focusing effects of metaphor, revealing some inference structure (although they do not use conceptual metaphor theory in their discussion).
When a mediator chooses a metaphor not only will the choice be based on metaphor elements and dynamics intended to be helpful to clients, but also the mediator will want the presentation to be evocative without stimulating resistance. (Professional accountants take this further, sometimes speaking of “metaphoric defamiliarization” (Walters-York, L. M. (1996) “Metaphor in accounting discourse”, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 9(5), 45-70) as the introduction of metaphor that is new or different to the listener in order to break old conceptual connections and examine things in a new light, such as when accounting standards are presented not as a conceptual framework but as “conceptual underwear” (Page, M, & Spira, L. (1999), “The Conceptual Underwear of Financial Reporting”, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 12(4)489-501). Professional copy writers are pitched as follows: “…Communicators too often think of metaphor as a poetic doodah that has no place in serious nonfiction writing. Not true. Metaphors are a workhorse of all meaningful writing… get their power from the fact that they compare the subject you're writing about to something that's more familiar to the audience. That way, they help our audience members understand new, complex information by means of something they already understand. [Buy this book of] techniques for crafting compelling metaphors.”)
Cameron (2003) reviews several ways that metaphor has been shown to mediate learning:
· Simple transfer of attributes and relational structure from source to target (depends upon one’s knowledge of the source domain).
· More dramatic breaking down of existing structure to restructure one’s concepts or understanding using a new frame or terms of reference.
· Filling in gaps in existing knowledge or understanding through a comparison between target and source, which might lead to a search for additional information.
· Analogical reasoning, where what is to be learned, or problem to be solved, follows the pattern set up in an analogy; this also depends on one’s prior knowledge of the source domain (often lacking in younger or less experienced individuals) as well as prompting or suggestion to make use of the analogy.
· Mnemonic value, when a metaphor reminds one of something already known.
 The abstract of this article is as follows: “The more orthodox versions of our discipline as well as other social sciences are grounded in the common presupposition that science and philosophy be expounded by an especially true level of language characterized by precision and absence of ambiguity. For this reason, tropological linguistic forms such as metaphor are often held to be illicit, as unimportant or nonessential frills, deviant and parasitic on normal usage, for use by none but the poet. Argues that metaphor, far from being a mere stylistic device, is an indispensable, and indeed inseparable ingredient of all discourses whether literary, scientific, philosophical, or accounting. Draws heavily on Black’s (1962, 1978, 1993) interaction account of metaphor as a basis for explicating the poetic and rhetorical roles that metaphor may play in accounting discourse. Through presentation of three primary propositions with supporting metaphoric illustrations, suggests that metaphor is very much a part of the way in which accountants create and disseminate meaning about the world as both part of mundane accounting discourse and extensions of discursive practices.”
 · “…copyrighted four-step process for forcing a metaphor. (This works great whether you're in a brainstorming meeting or alone at your desk trying to crunch out a good comparison.)
· Eight ways to take the “numb” out of numbers by developing analogies that help your audience members understand your statistics
· A five-step approach for cutting the clichés out of your copy
· The CCP formula for writing effective leads
· Six top resources for finding the raw data you need to make your statistics more interesting and understandable
· The question to ask to get a metaphor in an interview
· Ann's copyrighted fill-in-the-blanks formula for writing a fascinating metaphor. (Writing compelling copy has never been this easy!)
· More than a dozen world-class metaphors to model. (Use the techniques of these masters to develop and craft your own winning metaphors.)
· Four techniques for finding and writing metaphors
· Five metaphor do's and don'ts to follow — or avoid