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LISTEN WITH LOVE by Sasha Lessin, Ph.D. schooloftantra@aol.com

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  • Janet Kira Lessin
    LISTEN WITH LOVE by Sasha Lessin, Ph.D. schooloftantra@aol.com Learn how to listen to your lovers in a way that lets them feel felt. Make lovers really hear,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 15, 2008
      LISTEN WITH LOVE by Sasha Lessin, Ph.D. schooloftantra@...

      Learn how to listen to your lovers in a way that lets them
      feel felt. Make lovers really hear, understand and feel you. Hold
      each other and find out what hurt and what they can do to make it
      better now. Practice kindly yet authentically confrontation. Grow
      from feedback.

      Understand how genuine concern, revealing talk and listening
      actively encourages us. You practice active listening –mirroring,
      validating, empathizing and requesting. In active listening, you
      communicate empathy and respect when you paraphrase, summarize and
      show emotional sympathy with one another. You mirror and validate
      each other, empathize with each other and agree to specific actions.

      Mirroring: You say in your own words what you hear your
      partner say, beginning with "I hear you saying....". You do not
      respond to what she says, or indicate approval or disapproval. Stay
      neutral, don't roll your eyes or use a sarcastic tone, even if you
      don't like what she said or disagree with her. It's her turn to talk
      and be heard; you'll get your turn when you've proven to her that you
      accurately hear her, understand her logic and feel with her.

      When you mirror her, you keep your voice neutral. Your job's
      to accurately reflect what she says to her satisfaction, so she knows
      you understand her. When she's said a small amount–usually three
      sentences or less–raise your hand to indicate that she's to stop
      talking and let you paraphrase her. Don't let her speak too long or
      you'll have difficulty mirroring her.

      As you learn to actively listen, you can remember more and
      let her speak longer while you still accurately reflect what she
      says. She can make it easier by pausing after three or four
      sentences and give you a chance to mirror them before saying more.

      Suppose she says, "You never take out the trash." Suppose,
      also, that you distinctly remember that you took the trash out last
      week. Nevertheless, don't say, "You're wrong." Instead, say, in a
      non-argumentative tone, "You're saying I never take out the trash."
      Then ask if you heard her right. Say, "Is that right?"

      If she says, "No," or says you didn't fully and, to her
      satisfaction, get the gist of what she said, she tells you the same
      thing again. Then, patiently, again try to accurately say what she
      said. She won't go on to say anything else and she repeats the same
      thing she said and let you say it in your own words until she's
      satisfied you understand. If you just can't get it to her
      satisfaction with your words, simply repeat what she said word for
      word till she says, "Correct."

      If she says, "Right," nods her head "yes" or otherwise
      indicates you repeated her correctly, ask if she has more to say on
      the subject she's relating. When, after you mirror what she said and
      ask if you got it right, she finally says, "Correct," wait to hear
      if she has more to say about whatever she's discussing.

      If, after a few breaths of waiting to hear if she has
      something to add to what you successfully mirrored, she's said
      nothing, encourage her to say more. Prompt her to talk more, if she
      wishes, with the question, "Is there more?"

      Continue to mirror her--check if you heard her right and ask
      if there's more she'd like to say--until she finally says that's all
      she wants to say about the subject she's been talking about. Then
      you've successfully completed the first phase of active listening,
      mirroring, and are ready to go to the second phase, validation.

      Validation: When your partner says she's finished what she
      has to say, summarize her logic, outline the main points she made.
      Complete this sentence to her, "You make sense because..." with a
      review how, from the way she related the subject she discussed, she
      makes sense.

      Ask her if you got her logic and main points right. If she
      thinks you missed something important, she asks you to mirror that.
      When she agrees that you've understood her logic, proceed to the next
      phase of actively listening, the empathy phase.

      Empathy: Put yourself emotionally in your partner's place.
      Imagine you think as she does about whatever she had you mirror and
      validate. Experiencing whatever she spoke of, to what degree are
      you, in her place, mad, sad, glad or scared? Based on this emotional
      identification with her, complete this: GI imagine you feel..."
      Guess how she feels, what emotions she probably has. Then ask
      her, :"Is that what you felt?" And "What else did you feel?"

      Behavioral Request: Ask your partner, "What would you like me
      to do to help heal any pain from what you shared." Alternately,
      ask, "What do you need and what I can do to make your life better
      this week.?"

      Next, it's your turn to be heard. Your partner mirrors,
      validates and empathizes with you, then agrees to a behavior you

      Okay, now take a partner, step-by-step, through the exercise

      First do the exercise, Listen With Love with a partner, then
      read the explanation for how Listen With Love works. The exercise
      teaches you to mirror, validate and empathize as you learn how to
      please, support, respect and convey love to each other. You learn
      how to make sure you understand each other, give and get deep,
      satisfying attention.

      Relax and take turns with your partner. You take each other
      through the cues below. The reader reads the cues in bold aloud to a
      partner, the responder. Reader reads anything enclosed in square
      brackets [like this] silently. Where the reader needs to respond,
      you'll see this symbol ###.

      Where you see asterisks (* * *), it's the responder's cue to
      respond: give her/him a few breaths to do so. Keep your face and
      body neutral while you listen; don't roll your eyes, gesture or
      respond--these inhibit the responder.

      HOW CAN I PLEASE YOU DEEPLY? *** [When responder has said a
      few sentences--few enough so you can remember--say the next sentence]

      Wait. I hear you saying ... ###. [Finish the sentence in
      your own words, Reader, summarize (paraphrase) what responder's said.]

      Is that correct? *** [your partner gives you corrections,
      paraphrase her and ask if you've got the corrections right until she
      says, " you've got it right".]

      Would you say more on this subject? *** [Continue
      paraphrasing and asking if there's more till responder finishes on
      this subject. When responder says, "that's all", complete the next
      two sentences.]

      You make sense because ### [Validate responder. Pretend
      you're s/he, seeing things from her/his perspective, say how s/he
      makes sense.]

      I imagine you feel .... ###.

      Is that what you're feeling? ***


      You're saying ....

      Is that correct? *** [If responder gives you corrections,
      paraphrase them and ask if you've got the corrections right until
      responder says, " you've got it right".]

      Would you say more on this subject? ***

      You make sense because .... ###

      You probably feel .... ###.

      Is that what you're feeling? ***


      Wait. You're saying ... ###. Correct? *** More to say more
      on this subject? ***

      You make sense because ###.

      I'm guessing you feel ... ###. Is that right? *** Say what
      you do feel.***


      You're saying ... ###. Is that right? *** Would you say
      more on this subject? ***

      You make sense because ... ###.

      I imagine you feel ... ###.

      What do you feel? ***


      You're saying ...###. Right? *** Say more. *** You make
      sense because ###. I guess you feel ... ###. What, indeed, are
      you feeling? ***


      Carl Rogers taught that in the natural course of feeling
      loved and accepted, you automatically think of yourself as
      worthwhile. You have a good self-image that gives you the confidence
      you need to grow emotionally. You know that sometimes other people
      don't like what you do and that sometimes you change what you do
      because of them; yet you feel basically ok; you have the self-
      confidence to be spontaneous.

      If, on the other hand, you feel unloved or loved and accepted
      only when you act certain ways, you develop a bad self-image. If you
      have that, you approach new situations split between the spontaneous
      creativity you need and your internal worry about whether your
      behavior will be approved by others.

      Rogers labels as unconditional acceptance the feeling of
      being loved, even if your actions are disapproved. He labels as
      conditional acceptance the attitude that you must behave in an
      approved way to be regarded as okay.

      Test yourself: Identify the following parental utterances as
      unconditional acceptance or as conditional acceptance:
      a. "You bad boy! You cooked the kitty, you demon!"
      b. "I'm furious with you. I hate what you did. Don't you ever treat
      animals like that!"

      Rogers says that a child socialized with variants of "you're
      bad unless You behave right" (select correct alternative(s))
      a. develops high positive self-regard;
      b. receives unconditional acceptance;
      c. develops a bad self-image;
      d. develops a good self-image and feels intrinsically worthwhile;
      e. is likely to enter a new situation in a spontaneous way;
      f. is likely to enter a new situation conflicted between her impulses
      and her concern about how people would react to her if she were
      freely expressive;
      g. lacks the confidence to grow.


      Fortunately, even if you or your lovers received only
      conditional acceptance, bad self- images and conflicts between how
      you think you should be and how you are, there's still hope. You can
      develop a positive self-image when you feel accepted and loved. Give
      love and acceptance through a helping relationship. In such a
      relationship, you share, in addition to acceptance and care, honesty
      as to your emotions. Give, also, empathetic understanding. By
      empathetic understanding, you let a person know you can relate to the
      way she or he sees, hears and feels things.

      When you grow, as the result of feeling love and
      acceptance from parents, society or a helping relationship, you
      ... understand yourself more.
      ... accept parts of yourself you denied before.
      ... get along better with, accept, and understand people more.
      ... think, feel and act in a consistent, congruent and integrated way.
      ...become more like you like to be--your ideal self and your real
      self merge.
      ...do what you please and are confident.
      ... become more individualistic, unique, and expressive.
      ... stop depending too much on the guidance of others.

      When someone's honest with you, you become more
      honest with him and with yourself. When he accepts you, you accept
      yourself. Where he communicates empathetically, listens to and gives
      feedback to you, you start listening to yourself. You clarify your
      own directions and gain confident.

      Empathetic understanding you give someone in a helping
      relationship must be felt by her for her to open up and grow
      maximally. Not only must you understand her sympathetically, but she
      must also perceive you as understanding her. This helping form of
      communication is active listening.

      Practice active listening: decide to understand the person
      you listen to before she understands you. You need only understand;
      you need not necessarily agree with what she says. Speak as slowly
      and energetically as she speaks. Synchronize your breathing with
      hers. Posture and gesture as she does. Reflect on both what she
      says and on the feeling that she conveys. Do this unobtrusively.
      Nod, ask questions of clarification, change how you sit and
      paraphrase her; these behaviors encourage her to express, understand,
      accept herself and grow.

      Warm-up: Exaggerated active listening

      Select a partner. Be alone together.

      Each of you think of what you would most like to experience
      before you die (or anything else you choose to share).

      Now share this information. Rephrase your partner's
      information into your own words until your partner agrees you
      understand the gist of what she said. When she agrees you are
      accurately paraphrasing her, you tell her part of your thoughts.
      Then she paraphrases you. Do this for every sentence. This is
      exaggerated active listening, designed to train you to track your
      partner's verbal communications. In the next part of this exercise,
      you continue sentence by sentence tracking subvocally.

      Practice: Natural units of reflection.
      Share natural units of talk with the same partner. Each of
      you think of something that concerns you. Your Partner says his
      concern as you paraphrase him silently in your own head. Every once
      in a while–after he says ten or twenty sentences, tell him what you
      hear him saying and ask if your summary's correct. Then have him
      hear your concern and occasionally feedback to you what he hears you

      Field Experiment

      Sometime this week subtly paraphrase someone you talk with
      using "Do you mean...?" "What I'm picking up from you is..." "Let's
      see if I understand, you're saying...." This lets the person talking
      know you're listening and keeps you, the listener, alert to the talker


      Researchers amassed convincing evidence for Dr. Rogers'
      hypothesis that honesty, acceptance of client and empathetic
      understanding (shown by active listening) yield growth in self-
      understanding, self-acceptance, satisfying social interaction,
      congruent thought, feeling and action, self-confidence,
      individuality, independence and less punishing ideals. The
      researchers recorded sessions for 18 months at the University of
      Chicago's counseling center for clients seeing Rogerian counselors.
      These clients and also non-clients (equated as control groups in
      terms of age, sex, student or non-student status, etc.) were given
      various psychological tests. The resulting data prove that clients
      receiving candor, acceptance and active listening feel better
      afterwards and are seen by their friends as maturing. There are no
      such changes in control groups.

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