Cognitive Pearl #023 Tevet 7, 5775 December 29, 14

Yesterday, we spoke of rookies and their difficulties sharing their inner world with us. Today, we’ll begin considering those who seem to lack any verbal way of accessing their inner world and sharing it with us (and with others!).

In general, and this is my opinion, we emphasize verbal communication too much. The result is a negative feedback look in which many, especially these non-verbal folks, feel out-gunned by us talkative, gabby folks. What we forget is that even Freud (remember him?) used indirect observation of ‘symptoms’ (hysterical reactions for instance) as a bridge to his patients inner world. 

Essentially, what’s being said here is that inference without expectation of verbal communication is the way to bridge the gap with many clients. We simply pay attention: to their dress, how they appear, how they are feeling physically. I make use of a list of common somatic complaints and illness which the client can choose from. The mind and body are connected and by querying the body, I can learn about the mind connected to it. 

And there is another way: writing is very often much more comfortable for clients. I invite my clients to write whether it be in the form of letters, emails, diaries, poetry, blogs, and comments in the blogs of others. Via these methods of expression, clients are able to express themselves in a way that is comfortable and safe for them. In fact from time to time, clients will open their laptops or phones and send a message or text to me, sitting a meter away from them. Of course, we must also consider our own needs including the the ethical and business dimensions of these methods.

Tomorrow we’ll get to some more ways.