Keep Listening and Thinking

One thing that I think is crucial in RC, especially as we develop new 'techniques' for working on powerlessness, oppression, etc., is to remember always that in each counseling session each person deserves to be listened to and responded to intelligently, flexibly and appropriately, and to what is going on right then. There is always the basic point of RC theory of using our intelligence to create a new and elegant solution to each new situation. It's 'easy' to respond to a person with what worked just right last week. And it's 'easy' to use the 4-step procedure for work on the oppressor role rigidly, without really listening to what the person is saying each step of the way. I think perhaps the clue here, as always, lies in seeing the human being clearly - not as 'the pattern that was running last week' or 'the pattern that's been installed by growing up white, middle class' - but seeing the person in each moment clearly. This will allow us as counselors to see what is going on in the moment - hurt that needs to be discharged, hopelessness to be contradicted, information that needs to be given, the next step that needs to be taken.....

The counselor is there to think, think, think about the client, but to do that accurately and well means we each have to always listen well, listen to what's being said beneath the words, and if we need to, take the time to ask. (A client's use of a word may mean something to her and something quite different to the counselor.) Always, if we listen well, and ask if we need to, the information is there - the human client is doing her/his best to give it out and deserves our best effort to hear it, and then our best thinking and total risk-taking to act on it.

Jean Baierlein
Portland, CT

Last modified: 2014-10-18 18:49:17+00