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  • Jasmin Newell

Conflict Resolution

Conflict can cause negative emotions to form within an individual's natural response system. When conflict is not resolved appropriately, negative emotional states may linger and develop into situations that can have serious, lasting consequences. However, redirecting conflict with the proper skills, can help individuals address these challenges and achieve greater well-being, as well as resolution. The following are examples of how individuals respond to conflict when it arises and is unresolved.

1. Fight: The person attempts to dominate either the person or situation. This detour can lead to things like anger issues, paranoia, and borderline functioning.

2. Flight: The person attempts to avoid, distract, or run from the situation. This detour can lead to anxiety issues, including obsessive compulsive behavior.

3. Immobilization: The person is unable to act or make decisions. This detour can lead to anxiety issues, including panic attacks and isolation.

4. Submit: This person is overly accommodating and gives in too easily. This detour can lead to depression.


Learning conflict resolution skills can be beneficial in individual, family, and couples therapy. Some of the most common areas where conflict originates are money, romance, family, friends, and career. Learning how to redirect conflict without emotional detouring, incorporates imagery and communication as the primary tools for exploration and resolution. In therapy sessions, clients are taught skills that allow them to unite when facing difficult situations. They are then encouraged to work together to overcome difficult issues, rather than combat each other. Leaving such issues unaddressed, can lead to anxiety, depression, or contempt.

The following is a very important question to ask before navigating a conversation: Is this a conflict or resolution-based conversation? In the process of exploring these feelings, the therapist can help clients discover win-win scenarios and help them identify new behavior patterns that may help them avoid engaging in negative actions and reactions in the future. Practicing conflict resolution ultimately improves the quality of interpersonal relationships and overall mental well-being, which is something we all can benefit from.


By: Jasmin Newell

MAADC II

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