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Constructive Confrontation
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Constructive confrontation is an approach to dealing with intractable conflicts that is being developed by Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. This approach is based on the assumption that while conflict is inevitable in all societies, the destructive nature of most conflicts is avoidable. By using constructive confrontation, disputants and third parties can transform destructive conflicts into constructive ones--ones which are not necessarily resolved, but ones which lead to a growing and strengthening of the parties and the relationship between them.
This approach to conflict has several key elements. First are that many conflicts neither can be, nor should be, resolved. This is similar to Bush and Folger's view that settlement should not be the goal of transformative processes. Rather, constructive confrontation provides disputants and third parties with a set of tools to confront (i.e, engage in) conflict in a way that generates more benefits than it does costs. Benefits include a better understanding of one's own interests, values, and needs, and how to pursue them (Bush and Folger's empowerment) as well as a clearer understanding, of the interests, values, and needs of the other side (Bush and Folger's recognition).
A second key element of constructive confrontation is a distinction between the core conflict and "conflict overlay" problems. The core conflict is made up of the fundamental interests, values, and or needs which are in opposition to each other. Lying over this core conflict is usually a set of “conflict overlays" or complicating factors, which often obscure the core and make it difficult to deal with effectively. These overlays typically include framing problems, misunderstandings, procedural problems, technical/factual problems, and escalation. Constructive confrontation requires that all of these...

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