Some people were made to fix problems. When you share your problems with them, the first thing they say is something about fixing it. They mean well, but it’s not always helpful to our souls and spirits. Sometimes the offer to fix a problem is just as irritating as the problem itself.
What we need is somebody to listen. We want to be understood. We need it. In my practice, I’ve called this sitting in the hot tub of emotion. What does that look like? Here’s a sample.
Choosing A Non-Judgmental And Relaxed Environment.
Our offices are designed to be relaxed. We don’t want you to walk in and think of a doctor’s office. We want you to feel comfortable in a clean, but not clinical space. Another important rule about the environments we create is to make it a place for open expression. We aren’t here to judge you and your past. We’re here to help you reach your future.
Practicing Active Listening
Active listening means that we put away distractions and think about what you are saying to us. You can tell when someone isn’t really listening to you, and it can hurt. They play with their phone. They look at everything but you. And they probably ask you to repeat yourself multiple times. When you come to us, we make sure that you and your story are our only focus. What’s important to you is important to us too!
Emotions may lead us astray, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore them. So we go the opposite route. We start by accepting them. You may feel as though you are being ignored by your friend, even though they spend time with you. Your emotions aren’t going to suddenly change just because your friend says they are paying attention to you. Once you’ve accepted the emotion as real, you can begin to fact-check the root of the emotion. Your emotions may not be accurate, but you still need the opportunity to feel and express them in a healthier way.
Choosing When to Give Advice
Getting advice is a good thing. It can help you see things from a different perspective. But the right timing for giving advice can be hard to find. And not everyone is ready to receive advice. More than that, certain pieces of advice can be inappropriate if the timing is wrong. We don’t want to turn good advice into bad advice by dumping it onto unprepared people who don’t want it. So while we will give advice when the time comes, we find it best to hold back and just listen.
After all, therapy isn’t about the therapist. It’s about you and the journey you are on.
If you are ready to speak to someone who will really listen to you, please come sit by our fireplace and let us listen to your story.