Too often, listening consists of trying to remember one’s witty remark while waiting for the other person to finish whatever it is that they’re saying.

One’s therapist should be a trained listener, A person who is not just waiting for you to finish in order to say something, whether it is witty, wise, or otherwise.

My experience of being on the therapist side of sessions is that they work best when we both slow down. On a recent wilderness trip, I remembered why I go– It is refreshing to the spirit to be in a world where the fastest pace is a walk, where time is measured by the movement of the sun. This is the biological root of being human, this time frame.

In civilization (don’t get me started on what that doesn’t mean) we are currently moving at a pace that arguably exceeds our abilities much of the time. But this is not mandatory. A good way to slow down is through listening. Look at the person you are with. Listen to tone of voice, look at posture, movement, facial expression. Use you mindfulness skills to attend to the person fully, without thinking about anything else. Remember, listening lowers your blood pressure. Your friends will think you’re the greatest friend in the world.

this applies to remote communication, also, Don’t text. If you can swap texts, you can talk to the person live. Texting about feelings– or anything important in a relationship– is disastrous, based on the couples I’ve worked with. there hasn’t been a couple yet who could stay out of trouble with texts more complicated than “Do I need to pick up anything on the way home?” with the response, “We”re out of milk, please get a gallon.”

The closer it is to live, the closer you are to life.


About jamesmatter

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in private practice in San Francisco. I work with adults, adolescents, and couples, with focus on substance use and abuse and co-occurring disorders (having both a mental illness and an addiction).
This entry was posted in behavioral health, communication, Couple communication, Therapy processes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s