Psychological Self-Help

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Additional readings
Goldstein, A. P. (1973). Structured learning therapy: Toward a
psychotherapy for the poor. New York: Academic Press, Inc.
Yablonsky, L. (1976). Psychodrama: Resolving emotional
problems through role-playing. New York: Basic Books.
Listening and Empathy Responding
Listening and empathy training
Listening and empathizing are essential skills when relating to
others. Most of us spend 70% of the day communicating, 45% of that
time listening. We all want to be listened to (but spouses talk only 10-
20 minutes per day). It is insulting to be ignored or neglected. We all
know what it means to listen, to really listen. It is more than hearing
the words; it is truly understanding and accepting the other
person's message and also his/her situation and feelings. Empathy
means understanding another person so well that you identify with
him/her, you feel like he/she does. The Indians expressed it as:
"Walking a mile in another person's moccasins." It is listening so
intently and identifying so closely that you experience the other
person's situation, thoughts and emotions. Good therapists do this, so
do good friends (Berger, 1987). How do good listening and accurate
empathy help? 
Purposes
It shows you care and that you understood the other person.
Thus, people will enjoy talking to you and will open up more. 
If you have misunderstood, the talker can immediately correct
your impressions. You learn more about people. 
It usually directs the conversation towards important emotional
topics. 
It lets the talker know that you (the listener) accept him/her
and will welcome more intimate, personal topics. It invites
him/her to tell his/her story and vent his/her feelings. 
Since it is safe to talk about "deep" subjects, the talker can
express feelings and self-explore, carefully considering all
his/her deep-seated emotions, the reasons for those feelings
and his/her options. Thus, it is therapeutic. 
It reduces our irritation with others because we understand. To
understand is to forgive. 
It may even reduce our prejudice or negative assumptions
about others because we realize we now have a means of
finding out what another person is really like. Furthermore, we
discover everyone is "understandable." 
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