one of the most therapeutic and enjoyable things anyone can do.
Thus, learning to be a good helper is a way of helping yourself,
sometimes called "helper therapy." This can be done by taking
paraprofessional training, by becoming a peer counselor, or by
participating in a support group (Chapter 5). There are several
effective training programs (Danish & Hauer, 1973; Ivey & Gluckstern,
1976; Egan, 1979; Samuels & Samuels, 1975). You can acquire many
of these skills by reading the books, but to become a certified
paraprofessional helper you must, of course, be observed and
supervised extensively in real life situations by a qualified trainer. The
first rule is "I shall do no harm."
Conflict Resolution or Negotiation
Conflict resolution: the "win-win" or "no lose" method of
Every relationship has conflicts. However, conflicts do not have to
end with someone losing and with both parties hating each other.
Many do end this way. That is why we have so many wars, political
fights, divorces, lawsuits, business breakups, time and money-wasting
arguments at work, etc. Wise persons are able to resolve
disagreements with both parties satisfied and respecting each other. It
takes real skill.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) have many great ideas. Two are
pacifism (don't settle conflicts with violence) and consensus (don't
settle issues without getting agreement from every person involved).
We live in a society, however, that believes voting is the best way of
settling disputes. Unfortunately, election winners tend to become
insensitive to the preferences, needs, and values of the losers, and
often almost 50% of us are losers. Any system of decision-making that
says "to hell with you, I've got 51% of the votes" can not be
considered humans' highest level of evolution. Of course, pleasing over
50% is better than pleasing only the elite. This method is about trying
to achieve a resolution that meets each person's needs as much as
possible. This is called a win-win system, in contrast to our court
system where one side wins and the other side loses.
Begin by understanding that we each have our own way of dealing
with conflicts in our lives. Knowing your own style and motives as well
as the style and motives of the person you are in conflict with will help
you handle the situation. Also it is obvious that self-serving and hostile
underlying emotions are often the cause of disputes. The conflict may
be a power struggle, a need to prove you are right, a superior attitude,
a desire to hurt or "get even," or some other motive.