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  • Writer's pictureGeraldine Waxman, ESQ.


Conflict is normal and in fact necessary as it establishes a “sense of self” or individuality. Most individuals deal with conflict either internally or interpersonally every day without recognizing it as such.

Conflict can be productive when it forces creative solutions to a problem. It can also be functional where it forces emotional distance between two hurt individuals. Here are some steps to work with:

1. Identify the problem or issue (enlist the parties' help in identification)

2. Develop a set of options for resolution. Do NOT evaluate – simply develop a list of options with the help of the parties;

3. List the pros and cons of each alternative;

4. Decide who does what by when and how if there is a timetable or homework;

5. Go to the future: if you cannot settle the immediate issues --- What needs to happen to prevent reoccurrence of the problem;

6. Keep momentum going forward

7. Explore what will happen if NOT resolved

8. Problem areas: power imbalance, emotions ---- keep separating the people from

the problem ----

9. Validate Opinions. Opinions hit at the very core of self esteem!!!!!

10. Those factors determining CONSTRUCTIVE resolution of CONFLICT:

  • mutual cooperation

  • open communication

  • each is interested in information from the other

  • similarities

Those factors Determining DESTRUCTIVE resolution of CONFLICT:

  • competition

  • no information (leads to destruct)

Guide: Increase those factors leading to cooperation and decrease those factors leading to competition. This is rarely done through extensive Caucus.

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