Naming a problem is often the first step to resolving the problem within conflict dynamics.
When we give an issue a name then we identify the problem as something specific. This is powerful in two ways.
Firstly, it lifts the problem off our colleague, friend, husband or wife. We are too often ready to perceive a grievance as being a characteristic of the other person. If someone is late, then we say it is because they are unreliable. If they do not perform parts of their role within the workplace then they are seen as being lazy or unreliable.
That in turn leads us to communicate about the problem in ways which attack the other person. The other person then either disengages from the conversation or adopts a defensive or counter-attacking stance.
Once we have named the problem as something specific then it is no longer something about you, or something about. instead it is a third entity within this situation. You and I may now be able to collaborate as we tackle the newly named and externalised problem.
The second point about naming a problem is that we call the problem into being, in linguistic terms. While a problem remains un-named it is merely a notion. Giving it a name, or label, enables us to talk about and challenge the issue.
A good example of this can be seen in the naming of the problem we now know as sexual harrassment. Before it was named, this problem was hard to tackle. Once it had been given a name then it was possible to speak out about it, to refer to it and engage in solving the issue.
Giving names to problems therefore makes it safe to talk about an issue without being seen as attacking the person we are rainsing it with, and it also creates a spoken framework and reference that enables engagement, discussion or debate and, hopefully, resolution.