Empathy is a political issue
Gary Lineker has it. Others just can't be bothered.
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For the past six month I have been doing a part time course in counselling and psychotherapy. I’m interested in that sort of thing. It’s all very well me spewing out my barmy experiences and half-baked insights here on The Reset. But if I’m going to share views and offer support to people then I should really appraise myself of the proper do’s and don’ts.
It’s been a right laugh. But pretty difficult too. The main thing they try to teach you at this (very early) stage of training is how to listen properly.
Listening is hard. Learning how to keep my mouth shut, put my own thoughts and feelings aside and just focus on what the other person is on about is a challenge for anyone, let alone a rampant gobshite like me. But it works. Listening to people and showing understanding without judgment can be challenging. Sometimes, every inch of me wants to interject with advice, opinion or anecdotes about how I once faced something similar to what they’re going through.
But that stuff can be pretty overwhelming for someone who is already in a difficult place. What tends to help is to just make them feel heard, acknowledged and safe.
It’s called empathy and it’s one of the hardest things in the world to master.
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