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Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions

Negotiation, Mediation, Advocacy, Facilitation, and Restorative Justice

Third Edition

Allan Barsky

Publication Date - 24 January 2017

ISBN: 9780199361182

624 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock


When people think of conflict, they often think of fights, wars, arguments, hot tempers, and hurtful consequences. Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions provides helping professionals with the theory, strategies, and skills they need to deal with conflict in a manner that is respectful, collaborative, and constructive. This text illustrates how helping professionals can incorporate evidence-based models of conflict resolution to work more effectively and enjoyably with clients, coworkers, supervisors, and others. Practitioners will learn how to respond effectively when others use power, positions, and competition. Whereas many conflict resolution texts focus on one method or approach to practice, this textbook provides practitioners with various models that they can incorporate in their roles as negotiators, counselors, mediators, facilitators, advocates, and peacebuilders.

Special features of this book include:
· Case illustrations that connect theory to practice in fields such as criminal justice, family disputes, health, mental health, education, and public policy.
· Role-play exercises that provide opportunities to link self-awareness.
· Step-by-step guides to implementing various approaches to negotiation, mediation, and advocacy.
· New and emerging forms of conflict resolution, including online dispute resolution, conflict coaching, and parenting coordination.
· Preparation tools that allow practitioners to assess conflict situations and determine the best strategies and approaches for managing conflict.
· Strategies for enhancing mindfulness, enabling practitioners to respond to conflict in a deliberate, kind, nonjudgmental, peaceful, assertive, and effective manner.

New to this Edition

  • Reflects critical changes in the fields of mediation, negotiation, facilitation, and advocacy over the past 10 years, including updated research and the inclusion of evidence-based practice
  • Completely new chapters on the theoretical bases of conflict resolution, restorative justice, family mediation, and transformation mediation
  • The chapter on negotiation has been divided into 4 chapters, one providing a generic framework for negotiation, and the others focusing on power-based, rights-based, and interest-based negotiation
  • The new modular format allows professors and instructors to choose which methods and models to emphasize in a particular course.
  • Each chapter begins with competence-based learning objectives
  • Ancillary materials include test banks, PowerPoint Presentations, sample syllabi, and additional exercises for each chapter


  • Strategies for enhancing mindfulness (meditation, reflection, emotional regulation).
  • Preparation tools for negotiation, mediation, and advocacy.
  • Conflict Styles Inventory to assess one's preferred style of dealing with conflict.
  • Comparative approaches -- power-, rights-, interests-, transformation-, therapeutic-, and identity-based conflict resolution.
  • Varied contexts of practice.
  • Use of nonviolence -- asserting needs and promoting justice in a manner that is peaceful and respectful.
  • Learning how to use conflict to build better solutions, enhance relationships, and build better understanding between individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Role-play exercises and discussion questions.

About the Author(s)

Allan Edward Barsky, PhD, JD, MSW, is Professor of Social Work at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Barsky currently teaches conflict resolution at the Florida Atlantic University School of Social Work. He has presented his work in conferences and trainings in the United Kingdom, Israel, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, and across the United States. Dr. Barsky served on the national board of Family Mediation Canada and has chaired the National Ethics Committee of the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Barsky is a certified family mediator with the Supreme Court of Florida and has extensive experience advocating for many social justice issues.


"With the recent proliferation of graduate and postgraduate programs aimed at training professionals to practice dispute resolution as an alternative to court, this book remains relevant and an important source for educating aspiring students to work in this challenging and rewarding field of practice. Dr. Barsky is well suited for this task as a renowned scholar, expert in the field of conflict resolution, clinician, and educator." -- Family Court Review

"This book is an engaging, insightful, and invigorating treatise offering a broad array of teaching and learning resources for educators and practitioners in multiple disciplines... As Barsky rightly explains in the preface to his book, the field of conflict resolution today has evolved and expanded to a wide range of professional contexts locally and internationally. Given the current pervasive climate of complex conflict situations throughout life, escalated by trauma, incomprehensible violence, negative peace, and a fight for resources, the search and effort for positive peace is consciously growing at multiple levels. Especially for those of us in the human service professions, this book offers a renewed focus and an incentive to craft interventions toward positive peace using what it has to offer." -- Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work

"In [the book], [Barsky] offers a comprehensive, in-depth application of the theory and practice of conflict resolution to the work of helping professionals. Barsky travels both deeply and widely in this work. He takes us through basic conflict theory, relevant research, and different philosophical approaches to conflict intervention. He also encourages us to think deeply about how we ourselves approach conflict and the values and messages we have learned about how to interact with others experiencing conflict... Not only does conflict engagement as a field of practice offer helping professionals an addition to their intervention toolbox, but it also provides an important new dimension for how to understand our role as interveners. Therefore, courses based on books like Barsky's ought not to be simply elective offerings but rather foundational courses both on the theory and practice of social work and allied human service professions." -- Journal of Teaching in Social Work

" With the third edition, Dr. Barsky has provided essential updates in mindfulness, restorative justice, and online dispute resolution while still maintaining the core of negotiation and mediation theories and their application to practice. Social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and pastoral counselors will find Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions both an invaluable antidote and a practice guidebook to helping professionals transform conflict in their clinical and administrative practice from crisis to opportunity" - Mitch Rosenwald, PhD, LCSW, Professor and Interim PhD Program Director, School of Social Work, Barry University

"Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions provides both students and conflict resolution practitioners with a clear, concise guide to understanding, assessing and addressing conflict across professional domains. Allan Barsky blends a broad survey of scholarly research with a wide variety of practical applications drawn from today's headlines, all the while expertly modeling the language and communication skills so needed by helping professionals. As a practitioner, I found the exercises at the end of each section to be thought-provoking and challenging. I highly recommend this interesting, informative, and useful text." -- Rick Lewis, MPS, Specialist, School Climate Initiatives, School District of Palm Beach County, FL

"Conflicts are part of our daily life and daily professional practice. Hence, conflics are an explosivie potential in the work of the helping professions, and training materials like this are most welcome...The text is very accessible, not difficult to read and understand, distinguished with a rich number of illustrations, clear guidelines, focused discussion questions, role-plays, assignments, etc." -European Journal of Social Work

Table of Contents


    Module I: Foundations of Conflict Resolution, Peace, and Restorative Justice
    Chapter 1: The Mindful Practitioner
    Chapter 2: The Theoretical Bases of Conflict Resolution
    Chapter 3: Restorative Justice

    Module II: Negotiation
    Chapter 4: Power-Based Negotiation
    Chapter 5: Rights-Based Negotiation
    Chapter 6: Interest-Based Negotiation

    Module III: Mediation
    Chapter 7: Transformative Mediation
    Chapter 8: Family Mediation and a Therapeutic Approach

    Module IV: Additional Methods of Conflict Resolution
    Chapter 9: Group Facilitation
    Chapter 10: Advocacy


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