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As social creators we cannot avoid by engaging with other and face conflicting situations. Conflict is natural relationship dynamics and can serve as an opportunity to collaborate and improve life. Carl Whitaker, a well know family therapist said, “Conflict is the pathway to intimacy.” Yes, conflict in relationship is unavoidable and rather than fight it, you should embrace it.
As we all experience, conflicting situations are difficult to handle, especially when emotionality amplify and distort our thoughts and behaviors. At one point, when conflicts deteriorate into angry response, they are no longer effective. To get to a level of cooperation, individuals in relationship must adopt conflict resolution skills.
As conflict escalates, parties involved begin to lose their reason. In some cases, these conflicts spiral completely out of control and can end up of both sides suffer “heavy losses.” Given the destructive nature that escalation plays, it is important to develop tools and strategies to limit and reverse this process.
De-escalation involves changes within each party involved in the conflict. It is important to understand that if one person change, it change the whole interaction dynamics between the parties. Based on Louis Kriesberg, in his book Constructive Conflicts, conflict de-escalation refers to a decrease in the severity of the coercive means used and in the number of parties engaged in the struggle. He added that “a basic finding of this analysis is that transforming transitions come about when a new way of thinking about their conflict becomes dominant in each of the primary adversaries.” In other words, conflict deescalation can take place when one or both parties involved desired new relationship with the other side and there is a serious attempt to do things differently to break the negative escalation.
The shift from escalation to de-escalation is a process that reduces the tension and negative energy between the parties involved. That also means that at any given moment the parties involved can take steps to de-escalate the situation. Yet, it requires much awareness, skill and effort. If you have acquired the ability to approach the conflict differently, it can be invaluable to handle challenging situation and to maximize the chances of a positive outcome.
spiral2grow counseling practice in New York City, provides training in conflict resolution skills and de-escalation techniques for individuals, couples, families, and business organizations. Our trainers help building successful relationships and dynamics by providing the necessary conflict resolutions and de-escalation tools..