Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Art of Communication

I spotted this tangle in the Ballsbridge Lanes and I couldn't resist. I speculated it would certainly make for a good metaphor about communications. When Bertolt Brecht noted the possibilities for personal one-to-one communication inherent in the technology of every radio (the possibility of every radio being a transmitter) he could hardly have forecast the mobile phone. Certainly he would have been less than approving of the current uses of modern communications. As a colleague once said to me ".. every one's talking and no one's listening!" So how are we all communicating? Much of counselling practice privileges listening skills. The Art of Listening, an excellent work by Erich Fromm, was an influence in my becoming a psychotherapist. Fromm says that the basic rule is to instruct the client to say everything he can and he should mention if he leaves out anything. The therapeutic relationship should, he adds, be characterised by directness and not by polite conversation or small talk. But for Fromm, the kernel of the psychotherapeutic art is the complete concentration of the listener.