Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.
– Charlie Kaufman
My profession requires plenty of ‘talking’ – but it’s not the kind of idle talk that sometimes takes place between strangers (even though, in first sessions, most Psychologists and their clients are strangers to one another); the conversations between a Psychologist and his/her clients should always be honest and substantial. The client has to be honest and the Psychologist must adopt the same approach; in addition to guiding the client and presenting to him/her the course of action that might help to get back on track; on a psychological and emotional aspect. Both the client and the Psychologist have to listen – truly – to one another; not just acknowledge what the other is saying, but really digesting it and responding accordingly. Finally, both parts take what is meaningful about the conversation; in a cycle of understanding, healing can be accomplished.
What would happen if we had the same approach with everyone, when it comes to communication? What would come of being honest and open?
In so many cases, the conflicts come from misunderstandings. People are way too ‘closed up’ and they never say what they truly mean or what they are feeling. There is an underlying fear that others will perceive our openness as a weakness. Being ‘open’ doesn’t mean exposing yourself and all your vulnerabilities: it just means being clear.
Clarity doesn’t imply rudeness or brashness. There is always a way to present facts in a clear way, giving the other person(s) the opportunity to voice their opinions and feelings. And of course – nothing is accomplished if we don’t listen.
In the workplace or in the family, healthy communication prevents misunderstandings and other (more serious) issues. Communicating with openness and honesty brings people together, uniting them through love and respect – what better ‘preventive medicine’ is there?
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