Transforming conflict: a group relations perspective

Transforming conflict: a group relations perspective

The resource

This article offers a group relations perspective of conflict and conflict transformation and explores how conflict manifests on the individual, interpersonal, group, and inter-group levels.

Conflict and aggression are defined as normal aspects of the human condition. Current theories and practices in the field of conflict transformation tend to be more rationally based.

The author uses concepts from psychoanalytic theory, such as defense mechanisms; and concepts from open systems theory, such as task, role, boundaries, and authority, to argue that in order to transform conflict, it is essential to understand the nonrational and often unconscious emotional elements that operate in groups and systems.


The author

Tracy Wallach, trained as a clinical social worker, worked as a psychotherapist in various organizations and in private practice for 20 years. For the past 10 years, she has been an organization development and leadership consultant based in Brookline, MA. Her clients have included manufacturing, health care, social service and public sector organizations.

She has taught extensively on the topics of group and organizational dynamics, leadership, conflict, and communication in professional, organizational and academic settings, both in the US and abroad. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Smith College and has done post graduate work in Organization Development and Human Resource Consultation at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy.

Currently, she serves as President of the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems (Boston Affiliate, AKRI), and is a past board member of AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.


The art and the artist

Andrea Giraldo López (Colombia) is the artist who collaborated to design an image for the notion of Transforming conflict in our groups.

Inspired by the research "Transforming Conflict A Group Relations Perspective" as well as Healthy Human Culture approach, she came up with that beautiful digital drawing.

This image is connected to the Conflict Resilience Series

Check here the interview to Andrea:

Transforming Conflict - an art piece: Interview to Andrea Giraldo
Andrea Giraldo López (Colombia) is the artist who collaborated to design an image for the idea of Transforming conflict in our groups. Inspired by the research “Transforming Conflict A Group Relations Perspective” as well as Healthy Human Culture approach, she came up with that beautiful digital drawing. This image is
Part of the Transition movement