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WHAT'S YOUR CONFLICT STYLE?

Is it dysfunctional to fight a lot in your relationship? Is it unhealthy for couples to avoid conflict? If you answered YES to either of these two questions, you've been trained well in the wrong knowledge. These are two myths perpetuated by popular media and, unfortunately, by many of my colleagues as well.

The one conflict style popular media holds up as "healthy" is the Assertive-Validating style. And though it is one of the healthy conflict styles, there are two additional styles couples use with success.

Here are the three healthy conflict styles

  1. Passionate

  2. Validating

  3. Peacekeeper

None of these styles is superior to any other. They are each equally valuable, unless your partner doesn't share your style. Your style is the right one isn't it? (grin)

The Passion person attempts to influence and persuade immediately and maintains this level of intensity throughout a debate. This type is clearly the most emotionally expressive of the three types, in both positive and negative emotions. Their perspective on conflict is that it should be out in the open and the argument itself is a point of connection between them. They each highly value openness and honesty, and are naturally strong individuals. This couple maintains a high level of romance throughout their relationship.

The Validating person first sets an agenda for conversation around a concern. This couple has a moderate level of emotional expression, but it's tied mostly to the central issues which are discussed after the agenda has been set. There is strong emphasis on companionship and the understanding of mutual needs. Clarity is often sought, so that each can understand the other in the best possible way.

The Peacekeeper agrees to disagree. This couple likes to focus on building up strengths and minimizing problems. Their top priority is the relationship's survival, hence when conflict arises they are quick to reaffirm their commitment to the relationship. Acceptance of each other is key to each partner and they express mild, tempered emotions.

When a couple is matched with a similar conflict style, arguments tend to go quite well. For these couples, especially the Passion and Peacekeeper couples, it's simply important not to second-guess your style. If it works for you then it's likely very healthy for YOU.

It becomes slippery when individuals in a marriage share differing conflict styles. Does this mean you are incompatible? Absolutely not! It does mean, however, that you each have to accept that your partner's style is as validate as your own. You have to practice tolerance and patience, while blending two different styles together. The better you understand your partners style the easier it is to not take their style too personally in the midst of conflict. Beautiful creations occur, say, when you mix together the strengths of a Passion person with those of a Peacekeeper.

As a couples exercise, identify your individual conflict styles. Then check them out with each other to see if you both agree. If your conflict styles differ, take time to make a list of the best qualities you each bring from your own style. Keep these in mind for when that next conflict opportunity arises.


Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

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""Peace is a two way road of conflict and compromise.""

  ~ Ronald Thomas

 

Announcement

Depression Support Group

There has been a strong  demand for professionally facilitated depression support groups.  

I am excited to announce, first to my subscribers, that I will be starting a depression support group that any of you can participate in.

In the next four weeks I will set a time and start date for a teleconference depression support group, which you can be a part of simply by picking up your phone and dialing a number.  All you do is call in to a number I provide, enter a code and you are in with me and the group.

The group will meet one time each week for one hour and fifteen minutes.  There's a 12-group session commitment and the cost is minimal.  If interested call me and reserve a space.  I will limit the group to 8 members to insure everyone's needs are met.

The format of the group will consist of my presenting a depression recovery tool, followed by teaching you each how to individually implement in your lives. 

Your friend and professional advisor,

Dave Turo-Shields
317-865-1674

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