listen 23 Mar 2017

BY: Caroline Cairns Clery

Spirituality

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Listen

Listening and hearing. Do we know the difference? Or is a part of life about learning to know just what exactly the difference is between them?

To listen is be alert to others. To other people, their feelings, their hopes, intentions and so on, in their voices and gestures and moods; and to other things, like the sound of raindrops on a window pane like tears, or maybe the swish of movement from a passing car like the passage of time, or wheezy lungs like leaves in the trees in autumn.

Listening is an activity and it is usually a conscious activity that we do deliberately. It requires attention to what other people are saying or doing and in return it gives them a feeling of being attended to which, as long as we are listening kindly and fully, helps them to feel respected and worth listening to. Listening gives them confidence that they are being taken seriously. This is why babies and children and young people thrive on our giving it to them. It is why adults often demand that we listen to them. It is why the voiceless (those with no power, money or influence and those who are unwell or disabled) need more of it from us.

To listen to others is to pay them respect as unique, individual human beings. It shows consideration for them and it signals our own ability to be considerate.

But we need also to listen to ourselves, to listen to our own bodies and minds when we are hungry or full, sleepy or wide awake, full of energy or aching, happy or sad, and so on, and respond to ourselves with the same consideration we give to others. This is called hearing which I will talk about next time.

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

For more information on Carrie, visit: surreycentreforeatingdisorders.com/theteam

tuning-fork 21 Mar 2017

BY: Caroline Cairns Clery

Therapy

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Hear

To listen we first need to hear. We hear a noise, for example, and then we listen to it if we want to. If we don’t want to listen to it and the noise carries on then we continue to hear it but we try to shut it out of our minds if we can, to ignore it and not to listen to it.

So hearing comes first but it also comes after listening because it is about ‘getting’ what we are listening to, as well has being alert to it in the first place, understanding what we are listening to, if we can, and if we can’t being willing to try to.

Neither hearing nor listening are simply or only about the ears!

But to hear in this deeper sense we do need to listen. We first learned to listen when we were babies in arms, if not before! When we were babies we listened to the way our mums spoke to us, the sounds she made, their meaning. We ‘listened’ to the way she held us, the way she soothed us, the way she fed us, changed us and so on, and then in time we learned to listen ourselves to the way she listened to us which gradually alerted us to our own ‘sounds’ – our cries, our gurgles, our burpings, etc.,, all the things going on within us. In other words, our mums ‘got’ how we were feeling and what we needed, and her ‘getting’ us helped us to ‘get’ ourselves and in  time to ‘get’ how she was feeling.

If all went well.

In psychotherapy we can often feel like babies again and we need our therapists to hear and to listen to us and to hear again as attentively as if we were actually babies all over again and they were like new born mums! Knowing we have been heard helps us to hear and attend to ourselves, to become independent and to be able to hear and attend to others.

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

For more information on Carrie, visit: Surreycentreforcounselling.com/theteam