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Relational-gestalt theory: The psychology of interpersonal conflict resolution

Relational-gestalt theory: The psychology of interpersonal conflict resolution

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Mike Talbot, UK Mediation Ltd

Keywords: gestalt therapy, psychotherapy, interpersonal mediation, psychological contact

Abstract: Current mediation practice lacks a coherent theory of the psychological factors that underlie interpersonal conflict and its resolution. Various models describe different ways to conduct mediation, yet there is insufficient explanation of the psychology of why and how these models often do, and sometimes do not, work. In this article, a new explanation of interpersonal conflict resolution is presented. Termed relational-gestalt theory, this explanation looks at conflict as a failure of an interpersonal relationship, and is based around the principles of gestalt theory. Relational-gestalt theory is compared with a number of extant mediation models, and its applicability is considered for various types and levels of disputes. The intention is to provide additional theoretical insights into the models and processes that guide the practice of interpersonal mediators, consultants and trainers.

Author Biography: 

Dr. Mike Talbot is the founder and CEO of UK Mediation Ltd, a company specialising in mediation, training, consultancy, and organisational development. He is a registered psychotherapist and an accredited mediator, and holds the Doctor of Psychotherapy (D.Psych.) award from Middlesex University. Mike has worked in psychological research, and in management roles in the private sector and in the UK’s National Health Service. Mike’s recent work includes the development of more rigorous and detailed explanations for how and why mediation often works, and sometimes does not.

Publication Date:  15 December 2017

Talbot, M. (2017). Relational-gestalt theory: The psychology of interpersonal conflict resolution. Mediation Theory and Practice2(2), 157–190.

Buy this article: you can buy a PDF of this article at this page, or a hard copy with the Issue  for 2017-2 here.

PDFs are not held on Mediation Publishing databases and therefore cannot be supplied instantly - but they will be sent within 24 hours; paper copies despatched within 2 working days. 

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