Dealing with conflict is an important aspect of life. Dealing with it in a way that encourages a win/win, positive outcome is important to good relationships. A therapy group provides an environment in which conflict can naturally occur and, if properly handled, can have a positive outcome for everyone in the group (Fehr, 2003; Rutan & Stone, 2001).
Since groups change and develop over time, the best ways to intervene can also be different depending on the phase of development the group is in. There are times in a group's life in which conflict can be well tolerated, and times in which it has greater potential for adverse outcomes for individual group members or for the group as a whole. Once a group is well under way, either of these conditions can occur at any time. Typically, however, the group is less able to deal with conflict early on in its life (Fehr, 2003; Rutan, Stone, & Shay (2007), or when there are significant changes in its state (turnover, environmental changes, etc.). It is better able to deal with conflict after it has achieved a good measure of cohesion.
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