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What exactly is Conflict Resolution?

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Let’s start by taking a look at what constitutes a dispute and how it can evolve into an entrenched conflict, over time.

What is a dispute and when does it become a conflict?

A dispute is simply a disagreement or argument between two people, parties or groups. Disagreements can occur on a daily basis and are often dealt with quickly by those involved. This allows us to continue to move forward, be productive and enjoy life. However, disputes left undealt with can worsen as anger and discontent grow. We become unproductive and distracted resulting in day-to-day activities becoming stressful and unproductive.

Conflict is the escalation of a dispute. Conflicts are created over time as a result of an unresolved dispute combined with additional layers of emotion and other conflict behaviours. Positions and views become entrenched and it is often the case that the underlying dispute ends up playing second fiddle to heightened emotions, values and beliefs.

So how do we best deal with unresolved disputes and conflict?

Disputes and conflicts can range in complexity – from relatively simple disputes to complex, technical, deeply entrenched conflicts that may need a variety of approaches to see the matter resolved.

One end of the spectrum can be viewed as two people having a constructive conversation own to share their concerns and agree on a suitable solution or way forward. At the other end of the dispute resolution spectrum are avenues such as arbitration, adjudication and litigation – ie go to court and have a judge decide on who is right and wrong.


Sitting right in the middle of the conflict resolution spectrum is Mediation. Mediation is the process of engaging a professional third party to assist both parties work through their situation, explore their concerns in further detail, discuss a range of possible outcomes and agree (if possible) on a solution or way forward.

Mediations have a range of benefits to both parties over other avenues. Mediation’s are private and confidential, allowing parties to work through their concerns or situation behind closed doors rather than air their dirty laundry in a public court of law. Mediations are also timely, often taking just a few weeks to be coordinated and held in a suitable venue or via online alternatives. The structure and process of a mediation, set up to allow parties to work through their situation together, also means that more relationships are preserved and are often stronger as a result of their efforts in mediation. Mediations are used widely to deal with relatively simple disputes right through to large corporate disputes at the ‘top end of town’.

Conflict Coaching for Individuals

Conflict Coaching, sometimes referred to as Mediation-4-one or simply conflict resolution for individuals, is the process of engaging a dispute professional to assist an individual work through a difficult situation, dilemma or dispute. This approach uses a similar model to mediation however is designed to coach and support one person.

Individual conflict resolution sessions are geared to helping clients clarify their concern or situation and focus on their preferred outcome or solution. Unlike other approaches that typically focus on the client’s past to help explain the present, Conflict Coaching is forward-thinking, future-focused and solution-orientated.

Maxwell Parker Conflict Consulting

If you would like to learn more about how our Mediation or Conflict Coaching services can help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Your enquiries are treated confidentially and are free of charge.

Matthew Maxwell, Principal of Maxwell Parker Conflict Consulting is a nationally accredited mediator (NMAS), qualified counsellor, registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) and Professional Member of the Resolution Institute of Australia (PRIMed). Matthew is an experienced dispute resolution practitioner across a wide variety of fields including family law matters, separation and property settlements, family business and succession disputes, estate matters as well a wide range of commercial and business finance related areas.

Maxwell Parker Conflict Consulting is based in Kiama, NSW and services clients Australia-wide. Mediation and conflict resolution sessions are also available via our secure online platforms.

For more information, please call Matthew Maxwell on 0403 436 453, email or visit


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