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The following information on Conflict will give you some insight to what Conflict is, and how it presents. 

Michelle Barratt Psychology aims to provide treatment for anxiety at the highest standard; implementing support and treatment that not only endeavours to support a person feel heard and understood, but a treatment plan that empowers their clients to reverse and work through the causal factors of anxiety or depression in order that they can implement preventative strategies to help protect them in the future.  We aim to support all children, all adolescents, and all adults, couples and family's work through their concerns to succeed in their ultimate wellbeing. If you are unsure about what you are dealing with, please don't hesitate to contact us to support you through the next step of either working out what to do or how to proceed with an appointment.

What is Conflict?

Living in constant conflict and discontent is found by most people to be an extremely difficult environment to live in.   Research has found that relationships cannot exist without conflict, but it is the type of negative conflict that many relationships suffer today that tear family's and loved ones apart.

Unfortunately, the negative effects of conflict are more often than not, purely destructive. The very negative nature of conflict seems to foster an ability to so easily provoke anger, anxiety, distress, fear and aggression. It often breaks down relationships, hinders communication, and obstructs problem solving and the ability to make any type of rational decisions.

This is because conflict is most of the time, managed by our primeval biological response to resolve a threat by either fighting where aggressive tactics and strategies dominate the pattern of conflict resolution, or taking flight which is riddled with submission and denial.


So by the time all of the above is experienced, individuals or couples can feel very despondent and low.


Resolving Conflict is a real possibility!! – it can be done.


Unfortunately conflict within most relationships is inevitable, and is a pervasive part of human life.


However, not all conflict needs to be entirely negative – the issues itself are more often than not negative – that is agreed - yes, but in fact if couples learnt how to manage the conflict or negative situations or issues they experience – coming through the conflict could actually strengthen a relationship.


Tillet (2005) explains, “That conflict can, however, promote new ideas, encourage better understanding, strengthen personal relationships, stimulate individual growth, and facilitate more effective solutions to problems” (p.1)


It is therefore, how conflict is dealt with that turns conflict or negative issues into ones that are pervasive and eat away at the good in our relationships rather than add or strengthen the relationship.


Research has shown that much of that adds to conflict exists in the mind. Conflict when experienced negatively – is usually seen as: destructive, unpleasant and undesirable. More often than not, conflict provokes negative responses, which can have detrimental effects on the individual, on relationships, and on groups.

What Does Conflict Do?

Most of the time conflict beaks down communication, destroys relationships (with long-term negative effects on not just the individuals experiencing the conflict, but more often than not has a ripple effect affecting other peoples lives for years to come), destroys lives, increases problems beyond the ones they originated with and erects barriers that can take years if ever to tear down.


How Is Conflict Mostly Dealt With?

  • Avoided

  • Suppressed

  • Concealed or

  • Fought Over


How Is Relationship Conflict Started (precipitated) and Maintained (perpetuated)?

Relationship Conflict can stem from a wide variety of issues relating to a difference in expectations, a difference in standards, different value-systems, being non-compatible, using negative communication styles (passive, passive-aggressive or aggressive), not growing together in the relationship and maintaining an understanding of each others needs and desires.


Much of the time, conflict can develop insidiously – thus it can grow and grow until it can feel like you just cannot see eye to eye any more. What is imperative couples be aware of – are four of the most damaging components of conflict precipitation and conflict maintenance and can more often than not if not attended to – lead to the demise of relationship:

  • Criticism

  • Speaking with contempt

  • Denial: Not taking responsibility for you went wrong in the conflict

  • Stonewalling: When conflict arises – a partner will either walk away, stop-speaking, and just stop engaging when they decide it’s over, existing in silence

  • Obsessive Reasoning: – refusing to listen and absorb and understand the view of the other party. Staying ‘on point’ of where they stand and thus refusing to try to empathise with the other parties feelings or perspective.


If you are experiencing conflict in your relationship – it would be extremely advisable to see Couple Counselling as Conflict management and resolution are extremely important skills to have to address conflict when it arises. Unfortunately, no one can promise that negative situations or issues will never arise, however how you manage conflict can be the key to a very successful and positive marriage.






Conflict Resolution is a process where exploring the source of the conflict or myriad of problems that a family or couple are experiencing can be done in a secure and non-judgmental environment.  Conflict therapy addresses and soughts through the primary sources of the conflict, but in an understanding and empathic way. 


For the most part, Conflict Resolution Counselling is a process where the conflict we see is manifested, and better understood from ‘both’ parties point of view. Emotions, perspectives, ideals, past history and what keeps hurting both parties is discussed and discovered before we jump into the process of resolution.


In addition, other aspects of the conflict, which are like underlying currents in a river-system – are explored. More often than not, it is that which we cannot see or is not really manifesting itself that can be truly responsible for driving the conflict.


Conflict Resolution can be at times a confrontational and difficult process, but it can also achieve personal growth, and develop effective communication and problem-solving skills have been acquired – conflict resolution skills can leave a person feeling some-what liberated!!


Additionally, conflict resolution processes can offer that support to people who are experiencing a variety of different conflicts.  Michelle Barratt conflict resolution techniques offer a variety of interventions that guide and teach you how to communicate more positively amongst one another, resolve conflict more effectively and how to nurture your relationships rather than tear them down.  


If you would like to access conflict resolution therapy to move forward in the difficult relationship or relationships you are in, Michelle Barratt offers couple/marriage, family, parent/child conflict resolution therapy.  To make an appointment contact her office or email her today.  

How Can Resolution Be Sought?


Predominantly, conflict resolution can only be sought when both parties are willing to at least discuss the issue/s. Both parties also need to be cognitively, and emotionally be present for conflict resolution to be effective. If both parties feel they can follow through with ‘Conflict Resolution Counselling’ – then please proceed to making a booking online.

If it is a couple, please make the booking where you attend together and book for at least two hours for the Initial Clinical Intake.

When Is Conflict Resolution Mostly Sought?


Conflict Resolution is mostly sought when two or more parties recognise that the conflict they are experiencing cannot be managed or resolved on their own. Unfortunately by this time, both parties or parties feel like there is no end to the distress they feel and cannot see an end in sight or a resolution of any sort.


Most of the time, conflict resolution is sought when people run out of the skills they have to manage the conflict they are experiencing but feel they are in a place to acquire new skills to resolve, manage and or repair the damage that has been done. Conflict Resolution is not only a discovery of the other party, but can also entail a discovery of oneself and a time where acquiring more effective skills to manage future conflict is learnt.


Please understand that if domestic abuse has been experienced or is being experienced in your relationship, then it is highly advisable prior to seeking Conflict Resolution Counselling or support, to first obtain individual counselling. This is so that through individual counselling you can repair and heal some of the pain you might be experiencing presently. Each parties need to be in a place where they can safely say they can emotionally deal with any type of ‘Conflict Resolution Counselling’.


If you are experiencing any type of relationship abuse (sexual, verbal, physical or mental abuse) – please explore this link please seek the professional help or support you need.


No relationship counselling or conflict resolution can be sought if any type of abuse is occurring in your relationship.


However, if you require individual counselling for any abuse you are experiencing, please feel free to seek the services you feel will provide the best for your needs or you may book an appointment with Michelle Barratt.

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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.