Conflict Management

Discover different counselling styles for managing conflicts and crucial skills for aiding negotiations between disputing individuals or parties. Determine best practices for mediation and facilitation and how to deal with power imbalances.

Course Code: BPS201
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn How to Manage and Resolve Conflicts

It takes someone with strength of character, awareness, and sensitivity to the needs of different people to manage conflicts. You also need a solid foundation in conflict management theory. This is a course designed to help you be that person. It will assist counsellors, mediators and other professionals to examine conflicts and help those involved to reach agreements.

Conflicts occur when there is perceived or actual opposition to our interests, needs or values. It is a state of disharmony. Conflicts may arise in many different areas of life such as within or between groups, between two individuals, or between and individual and an organisation. Conflict can also occur in response to frustration when goals or needs are not met, from power struggles, due to cultural differences, due to differences in values or opinions, because or perceived roles, and so forth.

Conflict is often viewed as negative because it polarises opinion, deflates morale and can culminate in violence. However, it can also be positive when it encourages people to become more involved in important issues, clarifies differences of opinion and results in individual growth or group cohesiveness.

In fact, conflict is a natural part of everyday life. Without it we would not challenge each other to do better. Often, it is not the conflict that is the problem but failure to deal with it effectively which has negative consequences for relationships.

The most valuable aspect of conflict is the energy that it generates. Conflict management is not an attempt to suppress this energy, but to use it constructively by transforming it into creative and productive dialogue. Conflict is easier to manage if it is seen as inevitable but not necessarily destructive, and as a problem to be solved rather than a battle to be won.

The course teaches students to work through different types of conflict to encourage people to make better choices.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Conflict Management and Anger
    • What is Conflict?
    • Conflict Handling Techniques.
    • Conflict Handling Styles.
    • Comparing Strategies to Handle Conflict.
    • Scope and Nature of Anger.
    • Approaches to Handling Anger.
    • Anger Management Techniques.
    • Dealing with Anger in Yourself and Others.
  2. Listening
    • Channels of Communication.
    • Stages of Listening.
    • Obstacles to Listening.
    • Emphatic Listening.
    • Ground Rules for Listening.
    • Listeners in Control.
    • Emotions.
    • Traps for Listeners.
  3. Negotiation
    • Scope and Nature of Negotiating.
    • The Establishment Group.
    • The Community Group.
    • Bargaining in Negotiations.
    • Win-Win Bargaining or Integrative Bargaining.
    • Being a Skilled Negotiator.
    • The Joint Problem Solving Approach.
    • Writing a Brief.
    • Guidelines.
    • Negotiating Mistakes.
    • Dealing with Difficult People.
    • Finding a Solution.
  4. Mediation
    • What is Mediation?
    • When is Mediation Called for?
    • The Mediators Role.
    • The Mediation Process.
    • Team Work.
    • Mediation Model.
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  5. Facilitation
    • Nature and Scope of Facilitation.
    • Preparing the Facilitation Meeting.
    • Attributes of a Good Facilitator.
    • Stress and the Fight or Flight Response.
    • Symptoms and Effect of Stress.
    • A Stress Management Response Program.
  6. Balance of Power
    • Problems with Negotiation.
    • Problem of Re-entry.
    • Balance of Power.
    • Dealing with Power Imbalance.
    • Verbal Bullying.
    • Asking Questions.
    • Information and Experience.
    • Agenda Setting.
    • Role Playing.
    • Needs Exploration.
    • Ending a Meeting.
  7. Discussion and Group Work
    • Group Conflict Management Exercises.
    • Anger Exercises.
    • Listening Exercises.
    • Negotiation and Mediation Exercises.
    • Joint Problem Solving Exercises.
    • Role Play Exercises.
    • Conducting Structured Exercises in Small Groups.
    • What to Avoid.
    • Evaluation.
  8. Crisis Analysis and Responses
    • Nature and Scope of a Crisis.
    • Response to Crisis.
    • Guidelines.
    • Interventions.
    • Principles and Goals of Crisis Intervention.
    • Crisis Intervention Techniques.
    • Debriefing.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe the nature of human conflict and ways to manage it.
  • Explain the importance of listening when dealing with conflict situations, and appreciate different listening techniques.
  • Define negotiation and discuss the process of negotiation
  • Define mediation and discuss the process of mediation
  • Define facilitation and discuss the process of facilitation
  • Discuss problems that may arise through negotiation, in particular, balance of power and its connotations
  • Explain the importance of working in groups as a means of learning how to deal with group conflicts
  • Explain ways of understanding and dealing with different types of crisis.

What You Will Do

  • Review five conflict handling styles
  • Look at methods for dealing with anger
  • Find out how to control listening and traps listeners experience
  • Understand empathic listening
  • Look at negotiation between a community and establishment
  • Make practical suggestions for negotiation
  • Identify responsibilities of a mediator, mediation processes, agreements, team work, and settling behaviours
  • Review factors influencing the balance of power
  • Consider the use of role play
  • Determine how to conduct structured experiences in small groups

Anger can Cause Conflict

Lots of different things can cause conflict. Anger is one of them.

Anger is often portrayed as a negative emotion, but it is not always the case. Anger is our how our body responds when we feel threatened. If we are genuinely under threat or someone else is under threat, we may feel the need to protect them. Our anger gets our body ready to do that. Anger helps us to escape from violent situations. It is seen as part of the body’s fight or flight response.

But sometimes people have a learned tendency to react with anger.  Or they may react with anger at perceived provocations, rather than real provocations.  The stereotypical idea of this is people who become angry because they think another person is looking at them in the wrong way or they pushed them on purpose or they think they are saying something about them. All of these things may not be real situations, but if the person perceives them as a threat, they may react with violence. All of us get angry at times, but how we control that anger will differ. DeFoore describes anger as a pressure cooker, we can only stop that anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes. Some people may be able to control their anger for a lot longer than others.

Anger causes physical responses, such as –

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline 

But it also has other physical impacts, such as –

  • Changes in our facial expressions
  • Changes in body language – for example, in humans, they may make louder noises, try to look physically larger, stare, bare their teeth and so on.  

These changes are designed to warn potential aggressors to stop their violent behaviour. So if a man is angry and stares, bares his teeth, stands up straight and shouts, it is a warning to another person that they should stop their aggression. Of course, this may work. But if the other person is also angry, it can intensify the anger in the situation and lead to violence.  

Anger can cause a loss of “self-monitoring” – the ability for people to be objective and think about what they are doing. This can lead them to not realise that they are acting inappropriately.  

So, anger is a normal emotion which can help us to survive but uncontrolled anger can have a negative effect on a person’s social and personal wellbeing. But many psychologists argue that suppressing our anger can also be harmful. 


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People Who Can Benefit From Studying This Course

Conflicts can occur in a range of situations from home life to work, and on a broader scale between countries. If they are not resolved they result in increased tension and sometimes that tension overflows resulting in injury or harm. There is always a need for people who are able to diffuse conflict situations and this course equips students with techniques and strategies to do just this. Conflict management is an important skill for counsellors and therapists but one that can also be applied into other areas of work.

This course is aimed at those working in, or aiming to work in:    

  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Mediation
  • Marriage guidance
  • Council positions
  • Police
  • Security
  • Correctional services
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
 Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join
Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join

How can I start this course?

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More information is here

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.

Kate Gibson

Kate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Jacinda has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

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