Edmonton Psychologist | Working Through Conflict

There are common mistakes couples make when they are working through conflict. Read further to see if you are making any of these relationship killing blunders. Once you have recognized an area you are struggling in, please keep reading to find out how you can approach things differently, so you get different results. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

working through conflict

At ReDiscover Psychological Services we believe in working through conflict as a healing method. We are here to treat anxiety, depression, addiction anger issues and trauma. We offer individual, couples and family therapy. We have appointments to help in all areas over the phone, virtually or in person. You will be glad to know we have three locations to serve you, downtown, the west end and Fulton place. Seeing an affordable psychologist could be as easy as making a call to us today.

The first 15-minute call is a free consultation and there is no referral needed to speak with us. If you feel like you are spinning your wheels in your relationships, it is time to speak with a professional who can help give you the tools and insight to understand yourself better and in turn understand those around you even more.

Most Divorce Stem From Conflict

Couples who divorce admit the reasons are one of the three following issues: conflict, irretrievable breakdown in the relationship, and arguing. The first of which is the one we see the most when clients come in to seek help. We can offer communication strategies that work to move through the conflict in a constructive rather than destructive way. Since conflict is so prevalent in relationships it is important to us to offer the strategies to work through it.

The first mistake couples make is letting conflict go without talking about it. This is an avoidant tactic that is used in hopes the conflict will just disappear. This is never what happens though. What occurs is the same argument over and over until you do the necessary work to move through it. Moving to a new relationship does not help either as you take your habits with you. You might be surprised to know there is no need to resolve the conflict. The goal is to work through it and focus on what is lying underneath it.

We help couples come to a place where they negotiate and compromise when conflict arises. To do this it is important to understand the value systems each person brings into the relationship, and which are shared values in order to be able to come to a mutual understanding of each other’s needs.

Working Through Conflict Can Help The Relationship

Another reason relationships fail when working through conflict is trying to fix the other person or ultimately change their perspective to be like the other’s. You may be butting heads because of the differing points of view. If your goal is to change the other’s mind you should know you have a 50% chance or less in being successful. What we help couples do in this scenario is to flesh out the perspective and furthermore, adopt the partner’s point of view for a moment. In order to be successful, the listener must suspend their own perspective for a time.

The next approach couples resort to in trying to resolve conflict is raising their voice. The main reason for doing this is to be heard. However, what ends up happening is putting the other person on defense. This is when someone will go into fight or flight mode. Both of which do not help in conflict. To deescalate the situation, it may be necessary for one or both people to walk away for a moment to take a breather, cool down and gain some perspective but agree to come back to the conflict and work through it.

One of the most damaging methods to trying to resolve conflict is calling the partner names or putting their friends and family down. Being sarcastic is what Gottman describes as contempt. When we scoff at our partner it creates emotional damage especially over time. This behaviour causes us to lose trust, respect, love, and fondness for our partner. It does nothing to fix the conflict. It is detrimental to the relationship.

Irreversible Damage

Once the damage is done it is important to build the bond again. This is done through admiration and respect by using a gentle start up approach where we gradually find the value in the relationship and the partner. Avoiding conflict leads to much bigger emotions that if left unchecked can destroy the relationship.

As mentioned earlier another mistake couples make in conflict is when one partner does not allow the other partner to walk away for a moment to blow off steam and calm down. This allows conflict to escalate quickly which leads to bigger emotions with more damaging behaviours. The reason it is so important to allow for this cool down is that some people are emotionally flooded in the moment and need time to regain control. If they are not given the time they may retaliate, and things get out of hand very quickly.

If you are the one who is prone to these big emotionally swings, something to keep in mind in this type of situation is to recognize when your body is in this stage of emotional flooding. It is always okay and permissible to take a break as long as you come back and keep working through conflict.

Contact Us Today!

If you would like to connect with an affordable therapist from our team of experienced mental health professionals which includes psychologists and social workers please call our office today at 780-540-4099 and we will book you in for a free, no obligation 15 minute call to help get you the on the right track in your relationships and ultimately yourself. We work with children, adolescents, and adults. Please also visit our website at to learn more about us and how we can help you.