Conflict refers to an uncomfortable internal feeling associated with not getting the things one wants or feeling undecided about what to do in a situation. A perceived incompatibility of actions or goals. Conflict is a state of opposition, disagreement or incompatibility between two or more people or groups of people, which is sometimes characterized by physical violence. Conflict is another term for a dispute.


Conflict in psychology refers to the mental struggle or discord experienced by an individual when faced with opposing demands, desires, or beliefs. This internal conflict can manifest in various ways, such as feelings of guilt, indecisiveness, or ambivalence. It can arise from conflicting values, beliefs, or goals, and may lead to emotional distress or discomfort.

External conflict involves disagreements or confrontations with others, leading to feelings of frustration, anger, or resentment. This type of conflict can occur in interpersonal relationships, work settings, or societal contexts. It can result from differing opinions, priorities, or expectations, and may lead to communication breakdowns or power struggles.

Conflict resolution strategies in psychology aim to help individuals and groups address and resolve their conflicts in healthy and constructive ways. This may involve assertive communication, active listening, problem-solving skills, and empathy. By understanding the underlying causes of conflict and developing effective conflict management techniques, individuals can navigate and resolve conflict more effectively.

Unresolved conflict can have negative consequences on mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. It may contribute to stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical health problems. Learning to navigate and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner is essential for personal growth, self-awareness, and positive social interactions.

Application Areas

  • Interpersonal conflict: Disagreements or disputes between two or more individuals.
  • Intrapersonal conflict: Inner struggle or tension within an individual caused by opposing desires or beliefs.
  • Group conflict: Conflict occurring within a group of people, such as a team or organization.
  • Intergroup conflict: Conflict between two or more groups, often based on competition or differences in beliefs.
  • Workplace conflict: Conflict arising in a professional setting, often related to communication, power dynamics, or workload.

Well-Known Examples

  • Intrapersonal conflict: Psychological struggle within an individual.
  • Interpersonal conflict: Conflict between two or more individuals.
  • Intergroup conflict: Conflict between different groups or social categories.
  • Intragroup conflict: Conflict within a group or team.
  • Conflict resolution: Process of resolving conflicts in a constructive manner.

Treatment and Risks

  • Therapy: Involves talking to a mental health professional to identify and address the underlying causes of conflict in order to find healthy ways to manage it.
  • Medication: Some conflicts may be a result of underlying mental health conditions that can be treated with medication, although this carries risks of side effects and dependency.
  • Self-help techniques: These may include mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, or cognitive behavioral strategies to manage conflict on one's own.
  • Conflict resolution training: Learning specific skills to effectively address and resolve conflicts, whether in personal or professional relationships.
  • Risk of worsening conflict: There is a risk that attempts to address conflict may unintentionally escalate it, leading to more severe consequences.
  • Stigmatization: Seeking help for conflict can carry a social stigma, which may discourage individuals from seeking treatment or support.

Similar Terms

  • Stress: Psychological conflict resulting from demanding or challenging situations.
  • Tension: Feeling of strain or pressure arising from conflicting thoughts or emotions.
  • Dilemma: A situation in which a difficult choice must be made between two conflicting options.
  • Dissonance: Cognitive conflict resulting from holding two or more inconsistent beliefs or attitudes.
  • Contradiction: Conflict arising from inconsistencies or opposition between different elements or ideas.

Examples of Sentences

  • Dealing with conflicts is an important aspect of therapy.
  • The patient is experiencing an internal conflict about their decision.
  • It is important to address the underlying causes of the conflict.
  • She is skilled at resolving conflicts in group therapy sessions.
  • The client's inner conflict is hindering their progress in therapy.



In psychology, conflict refers to the mental struggle that occurs when a person experiences opposing or incompatible desires, beliefs, or emotions. This internal conflict can arise from a variety of sources, such as personal values conflicting with societal expectations, or different parts of a person's personality vying for control. Resolving conflicts in a healthy way is an important part of personal growth and psychological well-being.

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