This blog is based on both my professional work as trainer, coach, mediator, writer and tool developer and the often unusual challenges I've faced in my personal life. More ...
In 2019 I've added the card 'Body' to the Empathy Path. Several methods have shown me, that specific thoughs, images and memories are somehow connected to a specific part of the body. Using this concept has often helped me to either reach a deeper level of 'being heard' by connecting the core message to the body OR using signals of the body (often pain) to find thoughts, images and feelings, that want to be found and heard. I've found this so useful in my work as coach and transformative listener, that I've added to my 6-step model of listening: the empathy path.
"I don't know, ...what to say." He spoke in fits and starts.
"What happened was so painful, that it's hard to talk about."
The man swallows. His entire body seems to react. With almost no sound he says "Yes, so painful". .
I see how the man puts his hand on his throat and put my own hand on my throat too. It's as if I find it more difficult to breath too. I start breathing deeply and with noise. On some concious level the man picks up my breathing and breath deeper and slower too. For quite some time all we do is breath. When he puts down his hand, I start talking again.
"It''s so painful, that you can hardly breath."
The man nods.
"Put your hand back on your throath and keep breathing deep and slowly. Your body is telling you, that it's so painful, that you can hardly breath. Be gentle with your body and give it the attention, that it wants and deserves." My hand is still on my own throath.
I'm not sure, how long we sat like that. At some point the man started talking again. The silence was broken, still we both kept our hand on the throat much longer. Giving attention to his body, seemed to create the space and safety needed to talk.
This is an example of listening with body.
I'm curious to hear, if you have other ways to listen with body. Please share them with me (and others) if you do.