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How Do Counselors Help with Conflict Resolution?

When it comes to conflict resolution, counselors may deal with a couple’s relationship problems, a supervisor’s discriminatory attitude and even an intractable conflict with a long-history. Licensed counselors have many therapeutic tools and conflict resolution tools to choose from to help their clients.

Positive Psychology

Counselors leverage character strengths and constructive emotions to help clients understand that happiness and contentment is actually derived from various mental, social and emotional factors. Positive psychology helps counselors to identify favorable moments as they occur instead of realizing them in retrospect. This type of therapy focuses on living in the present moment, which is coincidentally the basis of Eastern religions like Daoism and Buddhism.

Many clients find that positive psychology is quite joyful and liberating because they permanently alter how they perceive and interpret words, events and thoughts. Positive psychology takes advantage of the fact that most people can’t identify emotions as they occur, but can clearly understand and see them in hindsight. Some techniques include apps and devices that remind people to record their experiences in order to increase mindfulness and enjoyment of the moment.


Some counseling techniques use traditional psychodynamic approaches for conflict resolution. While most therapists won’t use Freudian analysis of dreams, they will attempt to identify any historical problems or unconscious roots. This technique is used when one client exhibits irrational thought and reaction patterns. Psychodynamic insights can be used to explore significant life events, milestones and childhood experiences that shape the client’s behavioral tendencies. These experiences may create unfulfilled needs or distorted views of reality that lead to toxic attitudes, emotional trauma and dysfunctional behavior.

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For example, a patient who experienced traumatic verbal abuse from a parent may over react whenever anyone criticizes them or even gives helpful recommendations. A successful professional patient who was severely bullied in school may harbor subconscious resentment of similar individuals at their job. Insight into personal events and experiences will help the counselor recognize unhealthy behaviors, perceptions and functional patterns.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy separates a specific problem from a certain person by externalizing issues and de-individualizing problems. In other words, the counselor will ask the client to describe their problem in narrative form, then they will ask them to review and rewrite the negative parts. When people acknowledge that the problem doesn’t define a person, but rather is something a person experiences, they will view the problem from different angles and attitudes.

Similar to this, many couples counselors often use role reversal to help individual gain insights into other people. Role reversal allows the opposite party to experience different conceptions and behaviors, so they will understand the motivation and frustration of the other people involved. When ideas and attitudes are experienced by proxy, the person may understand and sympathize with the other party. This will help everyone involved to explore the past in order to discover hidden negativity.

The last resort that couples use for successful conflict resolution is individual counseling. This is recommended when one client is unwilling to participate in group sessions or exhibits aggressive behaviors during sessions. While group sessions are nice so that there is comfortability and people to relate to, this isn’t always the best setting. There are many different options when it comes to conflict resolution.

Readers can learn more conflict resolution tips here.

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