Core Process Oriented Skills 3: Conflict, Diversity and Relationships

Core Process Oriented Skills 3: Conflict, Diversity and Relationships

Unit Description

Develop a deeper understanding of Process Oriented theory and skills for working with conflict, including deep democracy principles and Mindell’s four phase conflict theory

In this 3-credit point unit, building on the foundation provided in Core Process Oriented Skills 1 (104), students will develop a deeper understanding of Process Oriented theory and skills for working with one or more clients on their conflict, applying deep democracy principles and Mindell’s four phase conflict theory. Deep democracy views inclusion of marginalised parts of identity, groups and states of mind as essential to the healthy functioning of the whole. Students will develop an awareness of the power and privilege involved in rank dynamics in a way that will enable them to work with dominant and marginalised experiences in themselves and their clients from the perspectives of culture, gender/sexual identity, age, health, and access to social and economic resources.

The theory, demonstrations and practices in this Unit will provide students with practical skills applicable to relationship conflicts in holistic counselling. These include 1) inner work skills, to prepare the therapist for clients experiencing conflict; 2) conflict mapping skills, to identify the process structure (polarity, roles, ghost roles, field and environmental influences), including the impact of oppressive systems and intergenerational trauma that is baked into personal and relationship conflicts; 3) escalation and de-escalation signals; and 4) curiosity and detachment, designed to help the therapist to stay present in their role with the client when aspects of the client’s conflict activate the therapist’s own experience and trauma. 

Students will develop their holistic counselling skills further for working with relationship issues, and learn to apply the concept of high and low dreaming in relationships, and the mythic potential of relationships, in negotiating conflicts and other relationship issues. Students will develop their capacities to assist clients in accessing a teleological awareness of their patterns, so as to strengthen self-agency and support individual and collective growth. The use of Genograms will be introduced to clarify the client's relationship context.

Critical thinking is applied to differentiate between the philosophies and concepts of a process-oriented model of conflict awareness and other counselling and psychotherapy models.

Unit Code


Unit Type

Core Unit

Study Period

Year 1, Semester 2

Credit Points


Unit Coordinator

Katrina Dickson

Consultation Times

30 minutes before and after workshop intensives and by appointment during the semester

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Apply the deep democracy conflict cycle and process-oriented phase theory to personal conflicts and in holistic counselling to client conflicts. 
  2. Differentiate and frame types of power in the therapeutic relationship (or helper-helpee dyad): externally sourced social powers, and internally sourced inner powers. 
  3. Utilise inner work tools and conflict mapping analysis to prepare for and reflect upon a holistic counselling session with a client in conflict.
  4. Use a beginner’s mind to enter client experiences and track signals to make a hypothesis of the process structure. 
  5. Apply concepts of field theory, roles, ghost roles and deep democracy’s three levels of experience in process-oriented conflict work in holistic counselling with clients from diverse backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations, ages and social economic situations.
  6. Work with the polarity of the client’s high and low dreams in relationship, edges in relationships, and the mythic nature of the relationship where appropriate.
  7. Use genograms to highlight contextual relationship issues.

Graduate Attributes

Attributes Statement
Collaboration Our graduates will have advanced skills in collaborating respectfully with colleagues, teams and clients to enhance productive outcomes and manage conflict skilfully
Ethical practice and integrity Our graduates will demonstrate high ethical standards in their work and follow professional Codes of Ethics to do good (beneficence) and avoid harm (maleficence)
Professionalism Our graduates will have a highly developed understanding of their work roles and responsibilities and uphold a high level of professional conduct in their work
Holistic awareness Our graduates will have an in-depth understanding of how the physical body, the psyche and mind/ spirit/self are in constant interaction and relationship with each other and with the environment
Communication Our graduates have well-developed written and oral communication skills, including listening deeply and receiving, interpreting and transmitting complex information, on many levels of awareness with colleagues, clients and the community
Lifelong learning Our graduates have the skills necessary to successfully manage their careers and continue their personal and professional development in rapidly changing environments across their career spans
Critical thinking Our graduates have critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate and analyse information and make informed professional judgements

Delivery Mode

Workshop intensives

On-campus workshop intensive 2: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Saturday 5 - Friday 11 February 2022

Twelve hours of teaching and learning

Online delivery

1.5 hour Zoom discussion

Study Buddy activities

Eight hours over the semester

Student Workload

The total unit workload is equivalent to 7.34 hours per week over the semester, 117.5 hours in total.

  • 12 hours on-campus workshop intensives
  • 1.5 hours Zoom discussion
  • 8 hours study buddy work
  • 96 personal study hours

Created: April 27, 2021, 4:11 p.m. • Updated: Oct. 16, 2023, 2:06 p.m.