Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution theory offers a comprehensive framework for understanding emotional health and guiding efficient, comprehensive and effective treatment. The theory is based on a simple premise: conflict produces tensions; conflict resolution yields relief of tensions and resumption of well-being. Conflicts within an individual involve individual’s competing preferences, values, beliefs, fears and desires.
Jan, for instance, stated that she and her husband were experiencing difficulty achieving emotional intimacy due to continued conflicts and lack of effective resolutions. Mike experiences inner conflict between, on the one hand, wanting to sustain a relationship with his wife and, on the other hand, wanting to avoid her for fear of unpleasant arguments. For example, if Jan wants to talk in the evening with Mike, while Mike prefers to work on his computer, Jan and Mike have a conflict. Jan’s immediate concern might be to refresh her connection with Mike; a deeper underlying concern may be to feel reassured that Mike values her and their relationship. Mike’s underlying concern may be to avoid interaction for fear of fights; his deeper concern may be to feel that Jan respects him. If Jan and Mike then decide to go together to a movie, this solution could give them shared time, refreshing their sense of connection, and yet giving them enough structure that arguments will be unlikely and mutual respect will prevail.
When conflicts are handled effectively, feelings of emotional distress give way to relief and closure.