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There are many things that can cause conflict with and between individuals. The definition of conflict is a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one. Conflict or behaviour that is challenging often happens as a result of distress or because needs are not being met. Challenging is defined as testing one’s abilities and demanding.

A conflict could be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Biological, for example, because an individual is in pain or suffering the side effects of medication or substance misuse
  • Social, for example, because of being bored, wanting social contact, having a need to be in control, not being able to communicate or understand what is being said
  • Environmental, for example, because of loud noise or bad lighting or barriers in the room to mobility
  • Psychological, for example, because of feeling left out or lonely.

Your workplace might have a policy of responding to behaviour that challenges. There will usually be a form to report what happened, who has been involved and where and when the incident took place. You should include if anyone has been injured and needed medical assistance or whether the police have been called and then sign and date the form. This will then be used to discuss and take any action that is needed to better support the individual.

Sometimes an open discussion with any individual, where they are treated with respect and dignity, can often find a solution. If it is possible and safe to do so then take the individual to a quiet place, ask questions and listen carefully to what they say, take their feelings of being upset or angry seriously and try to find a way forward that they understand and can agree to.

It is important that you get to know the individuals you are working with as far as possible so you can recognise triggers to distress. It is also important that you don’t get emotionally involved but keep a clear head and look out for body language and reactions. If you feel that a one-to-one situation between yourself and an individual has the potential to become confrontational you should try to leave the scene to give them time to calm down.

When you recognise frustration and aggression in a person’s behaviour you will learn, as you develop in your role, how to use your communication skills and other ways of working to manage a situation before it becomes violent or aggressive.

One important thing you must remember is to ensure that no matter how heated the conversation gets, you remain calm, listen carefully and keep all information confidential. Your manager will provide guidance, explain ways of working and support you to develop your knowledge and skills as you progress in your work.

  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.4a
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.4b
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.4c
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.5a
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.5b
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.5c