Prevention is essential but it is not enough. Many conflicts become overt and need to be resolved.
There are at least four different approaches for resolving a dispute. Either one tries to reconcile the conflicting interests of each side through talking, or one takes the issue to a third party who determines the rights of each side, or one decides on the basis of power - by striking, for instance. Even though the interests approach is generally preferable, the rights and power approaches have an important role to play, if only as backups when talking alone does not succeed. A fourth approach exists, parallel to the other three. Since the accumulated distrust and hostility between the parties often proves a huge obstacle to collaborative problem-solving, the fourth approach is to heal the strained relationship.
Thirdsiders can make a critical contribution to each of the four resolution approaches. As Mediators, we can help reconcile the parties' interests. As Arbiters, we can determine rights. As Equalizers, we can help equalize the power between the parties. And as Healers, we can help repair injured relationships.
"Jaw jaw is better than war war." Winston Churchill