Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All ears

I'm always intrigued at how counseling is represented in the media.

In a conversation at last weekend's conference, I heard about HBO's In Treatment, a series with Gabriel Byrne as therapist Paul Weston. Each episode follows his sessions with certain clients, as well as his sessions with his own therapist.

This week, Christy Gualtieri posted an article in Relevant Magazine about the series. One section of the article is titled The Importance of Listening:

photo credit: Ian Britton, FreeFoto.com
Everyone knows the value of being listened to; but being a listener, we learn from the show, can be really irritating. In the show's second season, Paul complains to his therapist, Gina, about his clients and their reactions to what he has to say. He feels as though he isn't doing a good enough job as their doctor, as their Listener-in-Chief.

“But you encourage people to look at their lives, the pattern of their behaviors,” she soothes.

“They don't want that,” Paul bitterly replies. “They want to be loved. People don't have families anymore that they can talk to, and friends are quickly going the way of family.”

Irritating or not, we realize how important it is to listen to those around us. Not all listeners are therapists, but all listeners have the ability to do good for those they speak with.
Please read that last sentence again.

If I had powers of persuasion... if I could convince every person of just one thing (other than the gospel)... it would be this:


Don't solve. Don't fix. Just listen. Listen actively to people. Get really, really good at it.

Don't feel pressure to fix people's problems. Most people don't need that. They just need to be heard.

Listening is one of the best, most unusual gifts you can give someone.

And it always fits.


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