Conflict Resolution

We all have moments of frustration whether they be associated with a friend, a family member, or colleague. There are several positive strategies to utilize when it comes to dealing with conflict.

What qualifies as a conflict?

According to the Office of Human Resource Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conflict is understood by analyzing various behaviours and the consequences each behaviour produces on individuals living the dilemma.

  • Avoidance: This is the person who wishes to ignore the problem and will allow it to dissipate or squander. Unfortunately, quite the contrary is happening in this situation. The problem then swells under the surface until it’s no longer avoidable and will need to be addressed.
  • Standing your Ground: People who use this technique may appear controlling and aggressive in their means of communication. They fear not having their needs met if they don’t set the rules and direct the conversation.
  • Surrendering: Often perceived as the diplomat, the person using this tactic concedes to the needs of others. They place the needs and opinions of others above their own because preserving the relationship(s) is the ultimate goal.   
  • Compromise/Sacrifice: This method is a sort of concession and, while it seems to be a good route to take, it’s not the best approach. People in this category make a sequence of trade-offs which means they may be focusing on what they want as opposed to understanding the other’s viewpoint.  
  • Collaborate: People who practice collaboration care about win-win solutions. This means that they look for common aspirations and needs.  This style needs a lot of cooperation, assertiveness and communication among the parties but the effort can result in more productive, valuable, and enjoyable relationships.

Ultimately, understanding your wants, needs, and behaviour patterns, as well as those of others, will lead to greater insight. You will have a better understanding of yourself and others around you and more clearly see how situations might unfold. This knowledge will give you the preliminary tools for conflict resolution. 

Working with a therapist can assist you in building your self-awareness and conflict-resolution skills. A therapist might also facilitate group discussion in order to get to the root causes of conflicts and improve group communication.

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