When we mention conflict to people, they generally think we’re talking about trouble between other people, and in other places. When we sit down with them and talk about their own lives, they immediately start identifying their own contradictory thoughts and desires.
Conflict isn’t just an external thing to work with, or help others. It’s something we all experience every day, in every aspects of our lives, starting with ourselves. Once we’re happy with that idea, and that we all have to bring together our multiple selves and identities in a continuous stream of self management, then we understand ourselves better, other people better and the fact that we all struggle with mental health issues at one point or another.
For more theory: try Hubert Hermans (dialogue with self); Peter Goleman (the EQ model); Howard Gardner (multiple intelligences); Henri Tajfel (social identity theory).