Conflict Resolution Techniques for Family Counseling

Marriage and family counselors play a pivotal role in healthy family relationships. They help people navigate complex issues related to conventional family structures and intergenerational conflicts. Since conflict is inherent to the process of this type of work, family counselors need to develop tools to resolve conflict in the most beneficial ways possible. When communication breaks down between a married couple or between family members, a third party can negotiate disputes and help them find compromises.

An online Master of Education in Counseling and Development – Marriage Couple and Family Counseling from Lamar University can provide professionals with the skills to diagnose mental and emotional disorders and resolve family and marriage conflicts related to child-rearing, mediation, family violence, divorce and more. This online program prepares students for the evolving method of evidence-based counseling practice.

Helpful Tips for Conflict Resolution

Families and their relationships can be more complicated than they appear on the surface. Conflict is a natural part of family relationships, and arguments and disagreements are a normal part of life. Some of the most common causes of family conflicts are between spouses, parents and children, rivalry or competition between siblings, or a buildup of stress from losing a job, moving, changing schools, health issues, substance abuse and more.

Finding resolutions to friction within the home often requires a professional to help mediate and suggest compromises. Here are some helpful techniques for conflict resolution within a family unit:

  • Focus on the issue, not the person. When someone is blamed or shamed for a problem, they become defiant and angry. They will react to the accusation and not to the issue at hand. The approach of focusing on the issue respects each person’s feelings, so emotions do not get out of control.
  • Be collaborative. Agreeing on a compromise acceptable to both parties helps achieve partial satisfaction. The process of discussing the problem, providing a variety of solutions and choosing a mutually agreeable one fulfills the needs of everyone involved.
  • Use active listening skills. Asking questions, getting clarification, summarizing information and validating the thoughts of others require teamwork. Using active listening skills can help each individual feel heard and understood, which can foster open-minded resolution.
  • Manage emotions. Sometimes when we disagree with someone, we feel angry at the other person instead of the problem. This escalation can lead to physical conflict. Walking away and allowing time to cool down and control our emotions is just one way to be calm enough to share our point of view.
  • Keep an open mind. Couples and family members that can keep an open mind are more likely to find resolutions that work for each person. Understanding the other’s concerns, being flexible and considering both sides of the argument can allow for an equitable discussion. When family members are objective, they allow for resolution to a plethora of issues.

What’s Next

Counseling can help a family create and sustain healthy relationships. Through counseling, individuals can often develop the skills needed to resolve future disputes. For those interested in marriage, couple and family counseling, the online degree program from Lamar University can help understand the cross-cultural skills and competencies required for comprehending life-cycle dynamics, family structures, healthy family functioning and intergenerational influences. Students in this program will also study ethical principles, professional standards of conduct, legal issues and the guiding principles of mental health and how it relates to counseling.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online Master of Education in Counseling & Development – Marriage Couple & Family Counseling program.

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