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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