Managing Conflict

By Judith Lask

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Lessons
12 Sessions

Couple and Family therapist Judith Lask teaches you about common causes of conflict in couples, how to argue well, and skills in negotiation and compromise.

Workbook
Course Workbook

A downloadable workbook full of tips, insights, and case studies for managing conflict.

Learn offline
Case Studies and Exercises

Case studies to illustrate how couples deal with conflict, and exercises to put into practice what you’re learning.

What You'll Learn

Common causes of conflict in couples

How to begin an argument well

Skills in negotiation and compromise

Session Plan

1
Introduction
Judith has been working with families and couples for over 40 years, and high conflict is one of the most common complaints she hears. She explains the negative effects that conflict can have on your relationship and how this course can help you.
2
Understanding Sources of Conflict
There are four big sources of conflict in couples relationships: core beliefs, emotional needs, changes in our lives, and our expectations and disappointments. Judith walks you through each one so you can identify which may be present in your relationship.
3
Seeing the Positives
When relationships get into a bad place it is common to focus on the negative parts and filter out the things that are going well. Judith invites you to reacquaint yourself with the positive parts of your relationship and redress the negativity bias.
4
How to Start a Discussion
The first words are so important when we begin a discussion. Judith illustrates this with a case study of a couple who came to see her and shows you five strategies for starting a discussion well.
5
The Art of Communication
Judith explains how what we say can easily get lost in translation, and gives you some tips to express yourself and understand each other more clearly. She leaves you with an exercise to practice active listening with your partner.
6
Stopping Arguments From Getting Out of Hand
It’s easy for an argument to get out of control, where you find yourself saying things that you do not really mean and know you will regret. Judith walks you through some things you can do to slow an argument down to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand.
7
Managing Emotions
Judith explains the role that emotions play in a discussion. She discusses how emotional triggers can lead to unhelpful escalation, ways to calm ourselves down when we are triggered, and how we can develop emotional empathy for our partner.
8
Vulnerabilities and Self-Protection
Judith looks further at how events during a discussion or argument can trigger our vulnerabilities, which in turn can trigger unhelpful self-protective responses, using the “vulnerability cycle” framework.
9
Negotiation and Compromise
When you come up against some difficult or stuck issues it can be helpful to think more consciously about the process of negotiation. Judith discusses five commonly described stages of negotiation and gives you an exercise to practice them with your partner.
10
Looking at the Wider Context
Sometimes it is necessary to consider the wider context in which an argument takes place. Judith discusses four key aspects of this: gender, culture and class, influence of other people, and our families of origin.
11
Difficult Issues
Judith covers four topics that in her experience are particularly difficult to resolve. These are: separation and divorce, affairs, re-partnering, and sex.
12
Keeping Up the Good Work
Here we are, at the end of the course! Hopefully you have learned some skills and strategies to help you resolve conflict more effectively. Judith has some final tips to help you keep up the good work you’ve started.

About Judith Lask

Couple and Family Therapist