Repairing the Hidden Damage of Conflict Avoidance

Katrina Burrus, Pattie PorterStephen - 1

CONFLICT…either you hate it and avoid it at all costs, or you thrive on it by pushing to get your point across to the detriment of others. How we recognize potential conflict or respond to ongoing conflict is a choice. It is a learned skill that challenges your thinking, taps into your emotions, and requires you to make strategic behavioral choices. These choices help build courage, confidence and competence to handle difficult, tension-filled situations.

What is conflict avoidance, and how can it create unintended damage to relationships and escalate situations? More often than not, it is used as a default defense mechanism which often leads to a much bigger problem. You will learn behavioral cues and underlying motivating factors that drive us to react in damaging ways. More importantly, you can make different choices and learn strategies to help you take courageous steps to address conflict confidently.

Patricia Porter is Founder and President of Conflict Connections®, Inc. and is known as the Texas Conflict Coach®. Patricia is a subject-matter expert in the field of conflict resolution since 1994. Her experience includes working as a senior mediator, team facilitator, senior trainer, and conflict management and abrasive leader coach. Her primary emphasis is in supporting employees, teams and senior leadership in organizations to work through conflict and change productively. She is the author of "Stop the Dreaded Drama: 55 tips for Ending Destructive Conflict."

Patricia holds the following credentials.

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Texas, License #42026
  • Accredited Boss Whisperer (ABW), The Boss Whispering Institute
  • Credentialed Distinguished Mediator – Texas Mediator Credentialing Association
  • Certified Advanced Conflict Coach & Coach-Mentor - CINERGY®, Toronto, Canad
  • Advanced Practitioner – Workplace Mediator – Association for Conflict Resolution
  • Academy of Advanced Practitioners(AAP) – Conflict Coach/Facilitator – ACR
  • Certified Administrator – Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) – Center for Conflict Dynamics


In addition to her extensive conflict coaching experience, Patricia is a highly experienced mediator and provides workplace and EEO mediation services to a number of organizations. Patricia’s extensive team facilitation, negotiation and conflict resolution training experience includes many high profile projects. Currently, Patricia teaches conflict management coaching to graduate students at Southern Methodist University Dispute Resolution Program in Plano, Texas. And, she is the President for the Texas Association of Mediators (TAM).

Stephen Kotev is a Washington D.C. based conflict resolution consultant offering mediation, negotiation and facilitation services, conflict coaching, training and somatic education to private and government clients. Helping people resolve problems and improve their performance is his passion and profession.

Stephen has dedicated his professional career to the practice and study of conflict resolution. His first exposure to conflict resolution began as a high school peer mediator over twenty years ago and his interest in the theory and practice of conflict resolution continues to this day. He holds a Master of Science degree from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and is certified in conflict coaching by Conflict Coaching Matters LLC.

Stephen is a black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido and has become a nationally recognized expert on how to maintain your performance under pressure. Since 2006, he has taught graduate and undergraduate students these somatic skills as an Adjunct Professor for George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Stephen is one of only two individuals to have been employed by both of the nation’s two largest Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) membership organizations – the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and the Association for Conflict Resolution. He has also worked for the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management and the District of Columbia Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency as an ADR Specialist.

Stephen has conducted trainings to international and national audiences in, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Germany, Northern Ireland and across the United States.

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