Mediate BC Blog

Guidebook to Understanding Conflict

Posted by Donna.Soules

Understanding Conflict: Bridging Theory and Practice is a comprehensive guide for both group training and self-guided learning to explore alternative paths to dispute resolution. This 52-page manual is concise, clearly written, and practical, with numerous illustrations to help learners comprehend theories of conflict and develop new insights into self and others. It provides vivid examples, case studies, and exercises to those wanting to develop constructive skills when addressing positions, interests, charged emotions, and defensive behaviors. The skills are transferable to any situation where conflict arises. The interactive, collaborative approach promotes improved communication and understanding in organizations, schools, personal and family settings. This knowledge would be useful to manage stress of changes that Covid has brought forward.  

When people are enmeshed in a conflict situation, the most common response we hear is “I am confused since they struggle with the complexity of differing perceptions. Managers often say, “I don’t know who to believe. Both parties insist they are right.” As mediators, it often seems as if we are watching two different movies of the same event. The tendency then is for people to avoid seeking solutions, and collaborating seems counter-intuitive. Family members can get into a quarrel-and-blame cycle. A mind-shift helps people move away from judgement into insights about the thoughts and feelings of another who saw things differently. It is valuable and life-changing to foster an environment where we can be heard and listened to.

The authors have received several calls for mediation dealing with the tension and chaos resulting in the home and workplace. Doctors have commented that this kind of training would be helpful in health care professions, especially since it has been challenging to navigate the changing culture during the pandemic.

One person stated they had an “ah-ha” moment that granted them self-awareness regarding their style and approach to conflict. Good to know we can do things better!


Donna Soules is a Registered Roster Mediator (RRM) based in Ladysmith, BC and is on Mediate BC's Civil and Family Rosters.

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