Befriending Conflict ...making conflict safer, more productive, and more fun

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Befriending conflict™ what an idea! Among the hundreds of people author Joe Goodbread has helped with conflicts ranging from everyday family and neighborly disputes, to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, most would rather avoid conflict completely, than risk the emotional pain, potential violence, and loss of personal power that they associate with conflict. But each year, more and more people are finding that conflict can be fun! Using the simple methods of Befriending Conflict, you, too, can enjoy the buzz of productive and humane conflict, deepening your most important relationships while minimizing the risk of escalation and loss.

Befriending Conflict is a concise, “how to” book that gives you easy steps for recycling conflict into personal growth, sustainable relationships, and self-empowerment.

Befriending Conflict fills a growing need for guidance in dealing with emotions and other disturbing states of mind in all aspects of conflict facilitation and dispute resolution, a topic that is gaining increasing attention as the more technical aspects of conflict management mature. Befriending Conflict is the first book that shows how strong emotions and power, approached with curiosity and awareness, can enhance any conflict management method, in any venue. In addition to standing on its own as a guide to preparing for conflict, it can be used as an adjunct to any other work on conflict management. Befriending Conflict rests on age-old principles brought up to date and presented in the form of simple exercises, accessible to anyone with an interest in making conflict into more of an ally and less of a feared but unavoidable burden.

My experiences gradually changed my attitude toward conflict. I was becoming less afraid of it, seeing it more as a playground for experiencing my own power in a way that also helped others experience theirs. I was taking the first stumbling baby steps toward making conflict an ally – even a friend – in getting closer to my own path through life. I did not know it at the time, but my experiences showed me a direction that would later be of inestimable value in all sorts of situations, from the personal to the collective, to fields as unexpectedly wide ranging as business management and psychiatry.

Conflict could be something from which we flee. It could be something to which we get addicted as a way of satisfying our thirst for power. Or we could befriend conflict as an ally on the path of personal and social development. It is to this third alternative that this book is devoted.

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Joe Goodbread is one of the architects of the acclaimed Befriending Conflict program, sponsored by the European Union, to help community workers along the Northern Irish border cope with the stress and anxiety of the highly charged conflictual atmosphere in which they worked. He teaches and practices conflict management and psychotherapy in Portland, Oregon and throughout the world. He is the author of three previous books and numerous articles on Process Oriented Psychology.

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