Conflict Resolution Handout

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Conflict Resolution Training - Key Points

Objective: The objective of Conflict Resolution Training is to help you learn how to identify conflict, learn tools to help reduce the stress of conflict, learn more about emotional awareness, and review the protocol for dealing with conflict.

What is Conflict?

Conflict is more than just a disagreement. Conflict is a perceived threat to one’s well-being and survival and it usually stays with us until we face and resolve them.

There are Healthy and Unhealthy ways of managing and resolving conflict.

Unhealthy responses to conflict: Healthy responses to conflict
Not thinking about the perspective of the other person or what they are going through Recognizing and being aware of the issues that matter to the other person.
Explosive, angry, and hurtful reactions Calm, non-defensive, and respectful reactions
An inability to compromise or see the other person’s side Being willing to forgive and forget, and to move past the conflict without holding a grudge.
Seeing conflict as a bad thing. Believing that conflict can help people work through differences and come together.

Successful conflict resolution depends on our ability to:

  • Manage stress
  • Control our emotional behavior
  • Pay attention to verbal and nonverbal communication

Conflict Resolution Skill: Quick Stress Relief : Want to reduce stress during conflict resolution because stress reduces your ability to:

  • Accurately read another person's nonverbal communication
  • Hear what someone is really saying
  • Be aware of your own feelings
  • Be in touch with your deep-rooted needs
  • Communicate your needs clearly

Quick methods to reduce stress include taking deep breaths and/or talking  to someone whose judgement you trust.

You can also use your five senses to reduce stress depending on whether you have an over excited, under excited, or frozen response to stress.

Overexcited stress response – If you tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down. This could include:
Sight (Helpful for visual people):
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature–a garden, the beach, a park, or your own backyard.
  • Close your eyes and picture a situation or place that feels peaceful and rejuvenating.

Touch (Focus on things that feel relaxing and renewing)

  • Wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
  • Hold a comforting object (a stuffed animal, a favorite memento).
  • Soak in a hot bath.

Taste (Savor a treat slowly and in moderation)

  • Indulge in a small piece of dark chocolate.
  • Eat a ripe piece of fruit.
  • Enjoy a healthy, crunchy snack (celery, carrots, or trail mix).
Under excited stress response – If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and that energize your nervous system. This could include:
Sound (Helpful for those that respond to sound and noise/music lovers)
  • Sing or hum a favorite tune. Listen to uplifting music.
  • Tune in to the soundtrack of nature—crashing waves, the wind rustling the trees, birds singing (Real or Virtual).

Smell (Surround yourself with smells that are energizing and invigorating)

  • Smell the roses—or another type of flower.
  • Enjoy the clean, fresh air in the great outdoors.
  • Spritz on your favorite scent

Movement (Anything active works)

  • Dance around.
  • Stretch or roll your head in circles.
  • Go for a short walk.

Taste (Savor a treat slowly and in moderation)

  • Indulge in a small piece of dark chocolate.
  • Eat a ripe piece of fruit.
  • Enjoy a healthy, crunchy snack (celery, carrots, or trail mix).
Frozen stress response (both overexcited and under excited) – If you tend to freeze—speeding up in some ways while slowing down in others—your challenge is to identify stress relief activities that provide both a safe space and stimulation to help you “reboot” your system.

Conflict Resolution Skill: Emotional Awareness

Stages of Emotional Awareness:

  • Becoming aware that a feeling is present.
  • Acknowledging the feeling whether it is positive or negative.
  • Identifying the feeling. See the illustration below for the different names we can give to our emotions.
  • Accepting the feeling that we are experiencing in the present moment.
  • Reflecting on the feeling.

Tools Used in Dealing with Conflict

The following tools are used to help break the conflict into manageable sections and generate solutions.

  • Clarifying Tools - Break the problem down into smaller, more manageable parts and determine the desired outcome.
  • Generating Tools - Think of potential solutions and pay attention to where there is consensus.
  • Negotiating Tools - Think about tradeoffs and how one party can reciprocate for another party’s actions. Discuss the consequences of not coming to a solution and the alternatives to not coming to a solution.
  • Solution Selection - Evaluate whether the solution is fair, feasible, and beneficial to all parties.

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