Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Art of Talking – The Art of Listening

“How was your day at work today?”
“Not too great. I’m exhausted.”
“Nothing compares to how tired I am.”
“Well at least when you come home you get to sit and relax. I have to get dinner ready, make sure the kids do their homework, take baths and get to sleep on time.”
“Look, I’m bring home more money, work longer hours, and need to unwind when I come home from work.”
“Fine, maybe I won’t go to work anymore. I’ll stay home and take care of the kids while you make all the money.”

Does that sound familiar? Not very productive, is it? Let’s backtrack and start this conversation again.

The Art of Talking - The Art of Listening

“How was your day at work today?”
“Not too great. I’m exhausted.”
“I’m sorry to hear that honey. I’m pretty tired also.”
“Sounds like we both could use some down time. I would really appreciate a little help tonight. Do you think you could start dinner while I help the kids with their homework? After we eat, I’ll get the kids ready for bed and you can relax. Your help will also give me some time to sit and put my feet up.”
“Sure, no problem. Thanks for understanding that I need time to unwind hon. If you need more help just holler.”

Why do you think the second conversation ended so differently? Let’s evaluate both conversations.

In the first scenario, the husband compared his day to his wife’s day without giving any indication that he had heard what she said. She got annoyed, probably because she didn’t feel supported, and let him know what had been bothering her. The conversation just began to unravel from there and what followed was not very helpful to either of them.

The second conversation was friendlier and mutually successful because the husband let his wife know that he had heard her and offered her support by saying “I’m sorry to hear that.” Just that short sentence likey helped his wife to relax. She had her husband on her side and probably felt understood. The wife, instead of hoping her husband would offer to help, was clear and directly told him what she needed of him and that she would be supportive of his needs after he helped. That made it easier for the husband to help, knowing he would get his time to unwind shortly afterward.

There are a few key ingredients in the second conversation that made it end on such a nicer, more loving, and more satisfying note.

1- The husband listened to, and responded to what his wife said before he told her about his day.
2- The wife listened to her husband and let him know that she heard what he said.
3- The wife asked her husband for help in a clear way.
4- The wife let her husband know that she understood what he needed and promised to give it to him once he was finished helping her.

In this second scenario, both the husband and wife felt heard, supported, and therefore were able to offer and receive help.

This is called “active listening”. In active listening, the listener focuses on what the speaker is saying and gives feedback to the speaker that they heard and understood the message. It is a powerful tool to use in a conversation.

It’s amazing how much more smoothly our conversations can go with loved ones when we let them know that we hear them and support them.


Empty Nest Without Feeling Empty

Congratulations, your son or daughter is ready to leave home. That means you have raised them in such a way that they are independent enough to live on their own. Great job! Perhaps they’re going off to college, perhaps getting married, or perhaps moving into their own place to start a job. They are ready to have you cut the apron strings and let them leave the nest. You’re pretty sure they are ready, but are you?

Empty Nest Without Feeling EmptyAlmost everyone faces this new transition with trepidation. Yes, you’re going to have freedom, perhaps have the house alone all to yourself, or to you and your husband, but at what cost? Will you be lonely? Will you be able to find things to do? Will your child still need you? No wonder you’re scared, sad, anxious. Change is scary. You’re transitioning into the unknown. But this is not a crisis. It’s just a new stage in life, an inevitable change that most of us hope we and our children will reach.

For tips on how to face this stage with strength and optimism, please see the full article on Psychology Today’s website at…

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or you think I can be of some help. I have offices conveniently located in the New York City and Westchester areas.

Early Counseling Prevents Family Relocation Crisis

Pre-departure psychological counseling reduces the risk and expense of failed international and domestic relocations. The average cost of moving a manager to a foreign country can be up to four times the individual’s annual salary. In planning for the move, companies typically provide cultural information and counseling, but too often neglect to prepare employees and their families for the strong emotional impact the move will have on them. Relocation, even if it means returning home, causes a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety – whether the family moves to or from the United States or from one state to another within the United States. This situation may lead to difficulties in the work environment and trouble in the home.

Early Counseling Prevents Family Relocation Crisis

Pre-departure psychological counseling can help a family prepare for the inevitable traumas they will experience in the relocation process. When conducted by specialists, this counseling need only take three to five hours and will typically cost a company less than $1000 (in the United States) – a small price to pay to avoid a potential relocation failure.

Consider the following account of a family (the names of the family members have been changed) that had been relocated to France from the United States and their ensuing problems. Had they been given the requisite counseling, the troubles they experienced probably would have been avoided. Continue reading