Saturday, November 25, 2017

Glasgow Counselling Communication Challenges

  Every individual has their own personal model of the world, made up of their own beliefs, values, attitudes, thinking patterns and filters.  These filters will invariably “contaminate” the interpretation of a communication.  The information comes in through the five senses, at something like two million pieces of information per second.  That’s a lot of stuff!!  Now there’s no way we could process all of that information consciously, so one of the great things your unconscious mind does for you is to filter out a lot of the content.  It does that initially through the automatic processes of deletion, distortion and generalisation:

  Deletion                    - we delete a heck of a lot of information at any one time.  Right now, become aware of your left big toe.  Now where was it until I mentioned it?  That’s deletion.
  Distortion                 -  We bend reality to fit – we read between the lines and hear what we think we hear, or make it the way we want it.  Daydreaming is distortion, seeing faces in clouds. 
  Generalisation                      - We group things together and say “This is like that”.  Cushions, stools and sofas are all places to sit, so if you came into my house and I said “please sit down” you’d know what to do.  You compare new data to what you already know, which is the basis of all learning.  Every morning when you swing your legs out of bed, they always go down to the floor.  They never go up.  You’ve learned that now.

  Whatever gets through those initial processes, gets further filtered by a number of unconscious “files in the filing cabinet” which sift through the data and codify it, make meaning out of what we’ve just perceived.  These include:

  Language – the words and labels we use to describe our experiences
  Memories – our past history and the events that have shaped us.
  Decisions - Behind every belief that something is true, is a decision that you made to make it so.  If you believe you’re a confident person, it’s because at some time in the past you decided that you were. 
  Thinking patterns - For example: are you someone who moves towards what you want, or away from what you don’t want?  Are you interested in learning, achieving, gaining, progressing, acquiring?  Or are you into security, minimising the risk, being cautious, and avoiding hassle.  That one thinking habit shapes everything you do.  That’s only one.
  Your values - Are the positive & negative emotional states that your nervous system pursues or avoids. They are your compulsions & revulsions, they are your strongest feelings about what is right or wrong for you, they dictate how you spend your time & they judge all your actions - in short they govern your entire lifestyle.
Beliefs - A belief is a feeling of certainty that something is true.  If you believe the floor is blue, then you feel very certain that it is.  And unless I get you to question it, you’ll keep that belief.

  Now apart from all of the above, most people are poor communicators, rarely truly “letting someone in”, or genuinely listening to another person without immediately launching into one’s own “stuff”.  Most people have a short attention span thanks to television, internet and Xbox.  And when they do listen, it is often grudgingly, waiting either for a chance to upstage the speaker with their own concerns, or simply counting the seconds till they can terminate the discussion.

  Lack of quality interaction leaves us feeling emotionally distanced, lonely and isolated.  We withdraw into ourselves, begging to be heard but bound and gagged by fear or resentment.  Family gatherings become endurance events, marriages become convenient flatmates, and our very sense of identity is eroded. 

  Human beings all have a need for connection, and significance.  Poor communications makes us feel detached and invisible.  Effective communication can create  miraculous change.  Verbal magic!

So what about you?  How's your communication?  And how does it affect your life now?

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