Communication 101


Elsewhere in this blog I have written about problems I had with mental help that was judged to be legal and ethical. I thought then that I had communication problems, and looking back, I still see communication problems, exacerbated by psychotherapeutically correct terminology. 

Now I have written a 10-step communication guide that could have prevented those problems, and I hope for feedback from professionals and customers of mental help.

I do realize that for many who need help, there is no choice. I had none – it was “take what is offered or prove that you are treatment resistant”. 

So if I had done things differently, it would not have changed anything. What did help me, was to finally the difference between what communication could have been and what it was, to remove the niggling sense that “everything is OK, it’s just my reactions that are wrong”.  




COMMUNICATION
101

I: Written information about the helper’s views
and methods
, read and signed by the customer if they agree to be helped in this way.


II: An
agreement signed by both parties
at the start of help, where both commit
to using the following communication tools on an equal footing:


III: «COULD YOU PLEASE
REPEAT WHAT I SAID?”

To
check if one is actually communicating. And if there seems to be a pattern of
misunderstandings, this can be expanded:


VI: “WHAT
HAVE WE TALKED ABOUT THIS TIME
?”


V: “WHAT
DID WE TALK ABOUT LAST TIME?”


VI: SORT
THOUGHTS FROM EMOTIONS/REACTIONS/PATHOLOGIZATION

“I feel that …» is a thought. For example:

Instead of saying “I feel that you
are invading my boundaries”, one can say “I am feeling invaded. Would
you please join me in looking for a
grain of truth
in that feeling?

A helper who is used to treating the
customer’s reactions as psymptoms might find this difficult, and the question
can be just as difficult for people who have problems protecting their borders
and noticing border violations, but when both persons are willing to look for a
grain of truth, we get a win/win situation.

Instead of discussing if the reaction is transference
or an overreaction; it can be seen as a double reaction: A reaction is always
triggered by something in the here-and-now, even when the trigger is tiny
compared to the reaction.

Finding the grain of truth affirms the
intuition of the person who asks for it, and it also shows that the rest of the reaction belongs
elsewhere.



VII:
RECORD A SESSION

Go through the recording together and look
for:

CRITERIA FOR CRITICAL THINKING

Falsifiability
Logic
Comprehensiveness
Honesty
Replicability

Sufficiency





AND DOMINATION TECHNIQUES



Ignoring, making invisible



Withholding information



Ridiculing



Double binding



Blaming and shaming



Interpreting reality for others



VIII:
CHECK IF THERE IS AN ALWAYS-WRONG SITUATION:
An always-wrong
situation
is a
communications dilemma
where others know
that our reactions are always wrong
and it is
impossible to discuss the problem or resolve it.
In this situation
confusion is a natural response,
and we can only
get rid of the confusion
by removing
ourselves from the situation


IX:
MEDIATION AS A LAST RESOURCE

Set aside professional theories,
symptoms, jargon and diagnoses,  and check with the help of a mediator if it is possible to communicate on a basis of ordinary good manners and common
sense.
 

X: A
written agreement to end help, where both parties note their reasons, signed by both parties.




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