Conflict resolution therapy rests on the premise that unpleasant negative feelings emerge in response to situations of conflict. If effective conflict resolution skills enable the triggering conflict to move to resolution, well-being resumes. If conflict resolution skills are insufficient however, negative feelings continue to fester and grow.
This premise applies to conflicts within a person– conflicts for instance between someone’s desires and what they feel they should do. It applies similarly to conflicts between people, such as between a co spouses, a parent and child, or co-workers–and to conflicts between people and difficult circumstances such as illness or economic difficulties. The therapy methods therefore are useful for helping distraught individuals, couples, and/or families.
The primary job of a therapist therefore is to guide clients to a healthy win-win resolution of their upsetting conflicts, that is of the issues, problems and differences that have provoked negative feelings. A win-win resolution results in removal of depression, anxiety, anger and other negative emotions.
In addition to facilitating resolution of existing conflicts, however, conflict resolution treatment teaches the skills that will enable clients to address future upsetting circumstances more effectively on their own.
A conflict resolution therapist thus wears three hats:
1) Guide. A conflict resolution therapist offers skilled mediation guidance, leading clients through to win-win resolution of both their conflicts.
2) Coach. A conflict resolution therapist teaches the repertoir of techniques of conflict resolution that enable people to sustain personal well-being and smooth-flowing relationships. These techniques include communication skills, emotional self-regulation, ample expression of positive feelings, and collaborative problem-solving.
3) Healer. Conflict resolution interventions heal troubled relationships, and also relieve individuals’ distressed feelings such as anxiety, depression, anger and generalized upset.