Vital Listening

As therapists, we all have our own skills, our degrees and continuing education, various levels of expertise.  We know what we know.  Often, we feel the need to use our words to fight for our recommendations because we know we are right. Sometimes we are so used to not being heard, we fight harder.  Sometimes we need to stop fighting and listen.  

The paradox of listening is that by relinquishing power — the temporary power of speaking, asserting, knowing — we become more powerful. When you stop talking, stop preaching, and listen, here’s what happens…
People can trust you...
You acquire useful information…
You begin to see people as individuals...maybe even allies…
You develop solutions that other people are willing to accept and even adopt
— p. 81 “Presence" by Amy Cuddy

Because when we work together on a program with therapy, this isn’t about me.  My goals are irrelevant.  “Presence” talks about that people aren’t persuaded by facts, or the product.  They buy in when they trust the seller.  They buy the person, not the product.

There are thousands of SLPs in the United States and the world.  But MY clients get me.  We develop a relationship based on trust and warmth.  I listen to my clients goals, concerns and priorities.  We look at what is feasible.  And if the goals are “too big”, we break them down into smaller steps.  I will push when needed, but only to reach YOUR goals.  Not mine.

The plan we develop isn’t my plan. It’s our plan.  You chose the destination.  I use my therapeutic skills and research-backed strategies to get you there.  Encouraging and guiding you through detours and roadblocks along the way.  

I use my skills, what i know will work, and modify to fit my client.  I can only do that when I listen first and foremost.

When a person loses their ability to communicate, they lose power.  One of the most respectful and powerful things I, or anyone, can do, is listen and give that power back to the client.  

If I am going to help a client successfully reach their goals, I have to have buy-in.  The client must believe that the plan will work. Any caregivers must believe the strategies will work enough to follow through with them.  

I need to listen, truly listen to the client/caregiver before I can expect them to listen to me, the expert.