Gopin’s guide transcends many self-help books by drawing on his two decades of experience in the field of conflict resolution worldwide, including the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Africa. ‘Destructive conflicts’, he writes, ‘are based on primal emotions and cannot be solved by rational discussion and negotiation. They call, instead, for addressing and healing feelings of dishonor and humiliation, which in turn requires self-examination and spiritual growth.’ Using wide-ranging anecdotes, Gopin presents eight primary steps, including recognizing the emotions at the heart of conflict, learning how to listen to all sides of an issue, setting goals that represent the future needs and desires of all parties and keeping dialogue open and ongoing. He illustrates how these principles can be applied in work situations, within family relationship and in local community dynamics. Gopin addresses how differences in politics, religion, gender, race and personal beliefs can serve as catalysts for conflict and how one might approach delicate situations with understanding so that opportunity for conflict is reduced. Though the eight steps are summarized with simple words (Feel, Understand, Hear, etc.), Gopin’s solution is not a simple or easy one–but it is psychologically and spiritually grounded, compassionate and compelling.
Someone a long time ago-it may have been Voltaire-said, ‘What you are speaks with such force that I cannot hear what you say.’ Dr. Marc Gopin understands this on a deep level. In Healing the Heart of Conflict, he shows us how to be to foster peace in our lives. You hold in your hand a blueprint for hope.
A Living Guide for Resolving Tough Conflicts. Marc Gopin holds an endowed chair in conflict analysis and resolution at George Mason University. But his revised and updated “Healing the Heart of Conflict:…” is the fruit of decades of field work in conflict areas abroad, often at great personal risk, with real people in dangerous political battles. His writing is clear and insightful, for example, “It is a mark of great welcome to other human beings when you share your hopes and dreams with them and when you listen patiently to theirs. It is a kind of intimacy that allows the hard talk of problem solving to proceed in a better way.” And for a would-be peacemaker, “Whoever is good at making everyone feel valued puts themselves in a better position to help all sides manage the conflict better.” Basic guidance which should be in the pocket of every one suffering in painful conflicts–from marriages to major ethnic and sectarian disputes–and the people trying to help them
We must thank Marc Gopin, who built his outstanding career upon understanding and promoting conflict resolution, for giving us a valuable and reader-friendly roadmap for tackling our internal and external conflicts. Based on years of experience in peacebuilding and deep understanding of how to resolve and move beyond conflict, Gopin’s book is a treasure for all who seek a path toward a lived peace. This book is a readily accessible way for any reader to address—and change—the conflicts in their lives. Gopin asks the individual to start with self-examination, and guides the reader through an eight step strategy to bring clarity to all sides of the conflict. This leads to actions that can effectively transform relations, though, as Gopin cautions us, by taking one step at a time. Throughout this process, he encourages those wanting to resolve the conflicts in their lives to start by maintaining a balance between empathy and self-care, which he aptly notes is ‘necessary for us to play a constructive role in emotional situations.’ In each of the eight steps, Gopin helps the reader to understand what kinds of examinations, and revelations, are required to resolve conflicts.
The Title: Healing The Heart of Conflict says it all. Conflict management/reconciliation can be and usually is deeply emotional work addressing heart-felt hurt and violation of trust between persons and people-groups. It will not take the reader long to know that the author has walked this journey both personally and professionally, both which lend authenticity and authority to the message and process of healing conflict. The straight-forward eight steps are expertly unpacked through both scholarly work and use of case studies designed to carefully guide the healer of conflict. Healing The Heart of Conflict is timeless and accessible for both small interpersonal, local and global conflict resolving work. This book is an important source I refer to in my own work of healing the hearts of others.