Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Micro-skills, Micro-skills, and More Micro-skills...

The most insightful aspect of practicing micro-skills was the reminder of the critical importance of listening. Not solely from the perspective of a mental health counselor, but also from my experience as a social being. The other skills; paraphrasing/reflecting and reframing are enabled by active listening. Listening is the likely the most significant skill in counseling because without it the other skills are merely technical devices of the trade, and certainly not the means by which we can soothe the human condition.

Perhaps the most poignant of thoughts for my week were inspired by Gloria Steinem's notion that we all need to be acknowledged. Not just for the moronic, mundane, pointlessness at which we seem to excel, but for the deeper stuff, the yearnings, the irretrievable losses and the unassuageable sorrows that mark who we are as well as who we are not. We need to be acknowledged. Endorsed. Accepted for being more than the remnants and leftovers of life's sufferings, but for keeping alive the victor, the conqueror, the last woman standing.

These are not the blatant, clearly readable messages. These are the ones that lie between the lines. Only accessible through listening. And heeding.

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