By Dr. Eric Scalise
• Look upwards – ask God what He wants in the situation and especially what He wants from you.
• Look inwards – ask transparent questions about your own role in the conflict.
• Ask yourself what is upsetting you?
• Confront your own feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or inadequacy.
• Ask yourself what the core issue or root cause really is – the presenting problem is almost never the real problem, but a symptom of something that might represent a deeper matter of the heart (e.g., the fear of failure or rejection, past trauma, etc.).
• What are the potential consequences of the problem/issue or in pursuing a particular course of action?
• What needs to change? Why? How? Who?
• Gather the facts and don’t allow your emotions to lead or cloud the issue(s).
• Communicate your expectations and don’t take for granted that the other person automatically understands what you need or want.
• Verify any assumptions so you have accurate information and feedback and are less likely to draw premature conclusions.
• Speak to and address the behavior that concerns you and avoid attacking the person.
• Focus on resolving the issues rather than making the other person or the relationship the primary problem.
• Remember that both the message (your content) and the delivery (your process) are critical to effective communication. The point here is that it’s not always enough to have the right answer. How the information is conveyed can go a long way as to whether or not the message is ever heard or received.
• Strive toward understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas on the matter (without criticism) before attempting to negotiate or compromise on the issue(s).
• Endeavor to be responsive and not reactive when discussing issues or receiving feedback about your behavior from the other person – Proverbs 15:1 tells us that, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
“And so those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whosoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father”
(Col. 3:12-15, 17).
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Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the President of LIV Enterprises & Consulting, LLC and CEO for the Alignment Association, LLC. He is the former Vice President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as well as the former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He is an adjunct professor and the Senior Editor for both AACC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 36 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field. Specialty areas include professional and pastoral stress and burnout, compassion fatigue, mood disorders, marriage and family issues, combat trauma and PTSD, addictions and recovery, crisis response, grief and loss, leadership development, life coaching, and lay counselor training. He is a published author with Zondervan, Baker Books, and Harvest House, is a national and international conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues. Dr. Scalise and his wife, Donna, have been married for 36 years, have twin sons who are combat veterans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and three grandchildren.
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