following is based on material from Touchstone - Communication for
Effective Meeting, as developed by Paul Donoghue, Ph.D., with whom
Dr. Reiss has trained extensively. It explains some of the techniques
the doctor uses when dialoging with her patients...
Right from the start it is necessary to remove some of the confusion
about listening. Listening is more than just hearing the words of another;
it involves more than just the ears. Rather, listening is the full presence
of one person to another in an attempt to fully understand
the other at that moment. Hence it is essential that the listener respond
to the speaker, so that the speaker knows that the listener is trying
to understand what is said:
1. FOCUS ON THE SPEAKER
Since your attention at this time is to try to understand the other,
you must stay focused on the other and not revert to talking about
FOCUS ON THE SPEAKER’S FEELINGS
Even though they may not be clear or verbalized, the speaker has some
emotions in relation to what is being shared.
Try to focus on what those emotions might be, rather than on the issues
that have been raised.
Again, the intention is to understand the speaker first - the emotional
and personal reality - then the issues can be focused on more clearly.
FOCUS ON THE REASONS – AS PERCEIVED BY THE SPEAKER – BEHIND
It is imperative to let the speaker know that you are trying to understand
as fully as you are able.
One way to do this is to "feed back" to the speaker the
emotions that you are hearing (whether they are clearly verbalized
or not) and also to offer back the speaker’s reasons for these
emotions as you hear them.
To listen to another in this way requires a special blend of discipline
and respect - respect for both the speaker and yourself. You must remember
that the speaker is essentially making a statement about his or her
own reality, not about you. However, inevitably, much of what the speaker
shares with you will trigger your own feelings. Try to "tuck these
under your arm" for the time being and to continue focusing on
the speaker. You can, when appropriate later, share your thoughts and
feelings in return. In this manner, both parties communicate fully and
richly, without blame or resentment.
Truth and understanding, not mouth and ears, are the cornerstones of