Book Review: Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions
Barsky, A. E. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. 364 pages. ISBN: 0-495-09225-8
Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions offers a comprehensive coverage of the fundamental principles associated with conflict resolution. Specifically the author focuses on the areas of negotiation, mediation, group facilitation and advocacy across a broad range of professional settings including psychology, business administration, law, education, social work and related fields.
The text offers an informative and comprehensive introductory foundation to key theories and definitions in the area, while successfully maintaining a focus of practical relevance and application. This is most evident in the range of case examples, discussion questions, exercises and role play activities offered throughout each chapter.
Because of this focus on application and experiential learning, the material is best suited to small class tutorial groups where readers would gain most from the extensive range of discussion questions, exercises and role plays that accompany the text. Such groups could be in the context of tertiary training programs, professional development seminars or peer group supervision activities.
The author suggests that the book should be read in sequence because he has deliberately made each chapter build upon the other to ensure, for the reader, an optimum construct of practically relevant knowledge. As a result, the book does become a little confusing if you choose to jump around from chapter to chapter trying to ‘pick out the best bits’. Reading from cover to cover would result in a more complete experience and a more thorough understanding of the information presented.
Overall Conflict resolution for the helping professions covers the topic of interest well. It offers a solid foundation of relevant information and practical guidance, making it an informative read for anyone professionally involved in the area. It is a particularly good resource for student education, professional development and group supervision in the area.