Issue 10: The ‘Heart’ of Listening
…..Hmmmm a challenging issue to write this one.
The first challenge: how to define the function of ‘heart’ in the listening process.
The second challenge: keeping this exploration relevant to our work as Dietitians or any other health professional immersed in the objective medical model.
Defining ‘Heart’ in the Process of Active Listening
What do we mean when we refer to ‘heart’ in the listening process? This is open to many interpretations – all with merit.
In this sense we may consider that listening with heart could be defined as Empathic Listening – sensing into the emotional content of our client’s communication.
I’d like to also suggest that an extension to the definition of ‘heart’ in the listening process could include ‘body’. In this way we might use the word ‘heart’ as a proxy for the data within our Body’s Felt Sensing that we experience when we attend to our clients.
For some, the concept of Right Brain comes closer to defining ‘heart’ in tuning into our clients. In this sense Right Brain may be appreciated as offering the more fluid, creative, intuitive aspects of our connecting with our clients and the meaning making process. In Issue 9 I touched on this a little when considering our clients’ verbal messages and pondered the idea of ‘whole-brained’ attention. If this fascinating aspect of communication interests you…and to read more about what it may sound like in your sessions with clients …read on.
#active listening #empathy