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Old 11-06-2009, 12:54 PM   #33
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations

I am reminded by Kevin's post of an exercise I did with the nurses' aides in a residential care facility I worked at in SF:
I sat one of them alongside me. We each put up our hands in a "hands on car steering wheel" position so we were like motorists alongside each other at a stoplight. I let my eyes rove around, including at her, but only as part of the scan, NOT fixing on her, while I let my face set into a furrowed brow and slightly downturned mouth.
I then asked the group to interpret what they saw.
EVERY SINGLE ONE, both the woman next to me and the observers, assumed my face was a negative reaction to the person "in the next car." Nobody for a moment had the notion pass through their mind that I might not have even noticed her, that I might have indigestion, be planning my dinner menu, be worried about my mom's health, be composing a song, have a headache, be chronically depressed....No, it was all framed in personal terms.
We had a lively follow up discussion about how that applies to communicating with the residents....

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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