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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR counselors say conflict not always bad news

By Kristina Kopplin/reporter

Trinity River students learned that conflict is not always a bad thing during a Conflict Resolution seminar Nov. 2.

Counselors Lori Leach and Jeronimo Aviles offered techniques on how to cope with conflicts.

“It is one’s ability to manage the conflict that brings on the emotional stress,” Aviles said.

The counselors explained that, specifically, conflict is a situation in which two or more individuals perceive that their goals or values can be reached by one way or another but not by all.

“There is always, always a goal for every conflict,” Aviles said.

Four sources of conflict include attitudes, substances, communication and emotions, they said.

“One of the most common types of conflict is a misunderstanding,” Aviles said.

Throughout the process of conflict, one goes through five stages. Assumptions are one’s perceptions on the issue. Context deals with the setting in which the conflict occurs. Events are occurrences that initiate the conflict. Engagement includes the ways that one responds to the conflict.

Finally, one concludes the conflict with some form of communication.

Although negative conflict can become disruptive or destructive, positive aspects also come from conflict, the counselor said. These aspects include change, growth, resolution and a sense of intimacy. 

“Intimacy is purely the ability to be vulnerable” and acceptable to openness, Aviles said.

Conflict itself doesn’t damage a relationship, but the way one handles conflict can. Less productive ways to handle conflict include compliance, indifference or aggressive behavior, they pointed out.

When one is preparing to negotiate, Aviles suggested being honest and specific, owning feelings that occur when desire isn’t getting met and communicating desires without demanding them.

Aviles explained the concept behind negotiating.

“Don’t change their mind,” he said. “The idea is protect yourself.”

No matter what the conflict, three discussions always take place: The “what happened?” conversation discusses the main setting of the conflict. The “feeling” conversation discusses the feelings of both parties. In the “identity” conversation, people judge themselves based on the conversation.

The counselors said ways to increase understanding include formulations and paraphrasing.

Summarizing the other person’s message in one’s own words can help someone understand the other person’s reactions.

“[Assertive communication] will allow the other person to know you’re working with them and not against them,” Aviles said.

“Safe places” are important in any conversation dealing with conflict because they allow the other person to “know that you care and have good intentions,” Aviles said.

Near the end of a conflict, both people should have their arguments stated, understood and validated. This will clear almost any conflict.

If problems still exist, the counselors said to go back to communication.

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