Chapter 2, My Curiosity …just as in the moment-by-moment movements within a dance, there is a sense of rightness and wrongness of fit, a sense of honouring or failing to respect the ‘invitations’ others offer us in their actions. Without a responsibility to the relationship, dancing is impossible. Katz and Shotter, 1999
My interest in listening increased when I met Meercat4, a 55-year-old woman. She was referred to therapy because she was very unhappy with her life and her relationship with her family. She talked and I listened, session after session. I didn’t say much, not only because I wanted to listen carefully, but also because my skills in the English language still prohibited me from ‘taking up space’ by talking. From lack of a ‘tool for talking’ I became eager to use ‘the tool of listening’.
As best I could I tried to tune in on Meercat’s emotional state, showing her my interest by listening to what she said and trying to understand what she wanted me to hear. I concentrated on her facial expression, body movement and breathing, as well as her words.
2.1. Sessions I gave much thought to what happened in our sessions, by talking with Meercat, with my colleagues in the team and by reading the transcripts of our sessions. I was struck by how often Meercat expressed satisfaction with being heard. These are extracts from 3 sessions:
See Appendix p. 74 for genogram.
Dialogical Action Research - About therapeutic listening, creating space for voices to emerge and to be heard