As It Is or As I Am – the Art of Becoming

A journey … towards … being

"Swift to Hear"

Been reading “Swift to Hear” by Michael Jacobs, part of the course material. Actually, it’s not on the current reading list, but is referenced by another book that is. About 1/3 of the way through. One thing strikes me is the emphasis put on empathy, bring empathic with clients. Indeed other books read (have started to list them – see right box – and in time will provide brief reviews) also promote the quality of empathy as one needed most by counsellors. Compares the quality against sympathy – not saying that sympathy is bad, but not appropriate for a counselling relationship. Points out that even experiences we have which appear similar to those others have are not actually felt in the same way as another person. One person’s meat is another’s poison. Being made redundant for me will not be the same as for you. My son being still-born will not be the same for me as for you. There may be similar elements, but underneath the way we view things and handle them are all different for each of us. If I try to sympathise with you, saying “I now how you feel, you must be devastated, etc.” is not going to be of real value as a counsellor in getting to the root of how you are really feeling. I need to empathise with you, as far as possible to feel the same as you feel.

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