We’re always happy to receive submissions from therapists who might be thinking a bit differently about what they do. Here are some thoughts from a noijam reader on listening to clients in a different way:
Normally as a client speaks, we make sense of his words through an active interpretation of meaning. We might apply some judgments and filtering, but in the end we create an understanding. This type of listening has it’s place but doesn’t appear to be therapeutic. Since we spend such a short time with clients, I like to try to incorporate a different kind of listening which will make a difference. This approach has been described by a number of different authors, and involves attention without interpretation or understanding.
As the client speaks, listen for the underlying emotion. Or if there’s not much emotion happening, listen to his/her ‘inner self’. Attend to their ‘essence’. If you do this with full attention, you won’t be able to simultaneously interpret or understand the words since the mind can’t do both at once. I tend to switch back and forth between the two modes of listening, so that I can still get a rough idea of the meaning of the words and not get caught out when asked a question! It sounds disrespectful, but actually it’s a very valuable thing to do for the client.
What I discovered by using this approach is the following: All the words a client uses and the symptoms they present with, are possibly just a way of trying to make their inner self known; make their emotions known. People want to be known at a much more fundamental level than words can convey. So it’s possible to go direct and just attend to the inner processes and there’s much less need for words. It has enormous therapeutic power.
Four great minds in neurobiology, bioplasticity, education and psychology come together over 3 big days to deliver the most up to date and comprehensive Explain Pain package yet. #2015ep3 – its happening!