27 May 2016 Comments Off on Listening Heals

Listening Heals

Listening heals. According to David Isay, founder of Storycorps, an organization that is based on interviewing people, “Listening is an act of love….a commitment…” He goes on to say that it takes energy. Most people consider listening a passive experience; just sitting there doing nothing while someone talks at them. For those folks, listening is a dull and disconnected experience as they wait impatiently for the speaker to finish.

But attentive and attuned listening is different. It is active, takes patience and focus and is very relational. Allowing someone the space to process something with you is loving. It says to them, “I am putting myself aside and I am here for you. I care about you and am interested in you.” Listening heals.

Having worked with couples for many years, I have learned that if partners would take the time to quell their anxiety and move their agendas out of the way, their partner’s deeper feelings and needs could emerge. When a partner listens, he/she becomes safe and curious, compassionate and validating. The speaker feels like the most important person in the world.

What’s more, listening is soothing to both the speaker and the listener. I find, that when I start to listen to someone, it allows me to slow down, breathe and become calmer. Only then, can I be present for a family member, friend, neighbor or client.

When I work with people in therapy, I see how quickly they can calm down just from my attention and silence. Silence, in this case, is welcoming, validating and space-giving. It is truly a gift of love. Listening heals.

If you liked this blog, feel free to pass it on to anyone whom you think it could help. Or if you’d like to come in for individual or relationship counseling, please feel free to e.mail me at: nanlcsw@gmail.com or call me at: 847.491.1111 today.