When parties lack trust or when emotions run high, it is difficult if not impossible for them to accurately process information. If participants cannot process new information, it is unlikely that they will resolve their dispute. In helping others work through conflict, you have to pay attention to three levels of discussion: how do the parties view themselves and each other (trust/identity), what feelings are present (emotion), what data and experiences has each seen or viewed (information). If there are serious differences at the trust and emotion levels, those need to be addressed before or in conjunction with the introduction or sharing of information. If issues of trust or emotion are ignored, the level of conflict is likely to deepen, and participants are likely to anchor more firmly in their original point of view.
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