Reverend SOS

Psychological strategies for spiritual accompaniment (III)

After establishing in the first and in the second delivers the framework and foundation of the spiritual accompaniment relationship, and how to encourage it to be an asymmetrical relationship that is created bidirectionally, we now look at tools for communicating effectively.

Carlos Chiclana-December 3, 2020-Reading time: 3 minutes

The following tools can be used to communicate effectively in the context of spiritual accompaniment.

Active listening

In addition to listening and finding out what he/she is saying, we want to understand very well what he/she is conveying. For this, it is necessary to focus completely on what he tells us and what he does not tell us - about which we will ask him if it is appropriate -, to understand the meaning of what he communicates in the context of his desires, illusions and projects.

For this we will make it easier for you to express yourself fully, to be sincere; we will assess whether there is a difference between your words, tone of voice and body language and what we know about your recent life. I will extract the essence of what he communicates to help him get to it, without getting lost in long descriptive stories.

In addition to looking at him and sitting so that the body is also receptive to the signals, we can summarize, paraphrase, reiterate and mirror what he has said to ensure that he is able to express himself, that I hear and understand him. 

My words will be coherent with what you tell me, because I respond to the thread of yours, not to my own preconceived ideas. I integrate and build from your ideas, suggestions and goals. 

We will seek to serve him according to his needs and objectives, and to accompany him according to the needs he raises, his concerns, goals, values and beliefs about what he considers important to him, possible to achieve or not. 

I will try to encourage, accept, explore and reinforce him to express his feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs, suggestions, etc., or be able to come clean because he knows and feels that he is welcomed and not judged, in order to be able to continue towards the objectives. 

Ask powerful questions

It may be useful to ask open or very direct questions that help him to reflect on himself, his life, his project and thus put himself in the real scenario:

  1. that reflect that I have found out how he/she is, what is happening, what he/she needs, what he/she wants, how he/she lives the situation. This way I reinforce active listening and that shows that I understand the understanding of their point of view;
  2. that speak of discovery, awareness, commitment or action. For example, questions that challenge their assumptions or prejudices, their false beliefs, their bad habits; that open horizons, contribute unsuspected ideas or generate new illusions;
  3. that are open and provide greater clarity, possibilities or new learning;
  4. that lead you to look forward, to what you want, to grow, and not so much to justify yourself or look to the past. 

Accompany with hypotheses

With experience, you learn that you are not God and that you do not have God's will in a magic wand. So, when you have thought and prayed about something for another person, you trust the action of the Holy Spirit in you and at the same time you trust the action of the Holy Spirit in the other person; and you respect the freedom of the other person, and you ask the questions in hypothesis mode: could it be that..., would it help you if..., have you considered if it would be good to move forward where you want it to..., would it help you if..., have you considered if it would be good to move forward where you want it to..., have you considered if it would be good to move forward where you want it to...? 

In this way you leave space to God, to the freedom and responsibility of the other person, you do not impose what you consider and, in addition, there are more probabilities of "success" and less need for control-security on your part.

Communicate directly

Use language that is understood, appropriate, univalent and respectful. It should have the greatest positive impact, be clear, without euphemisms, well articulated, direct in contributing and sharing impressions and opinions. Clearly state the objectives, agenda, purpose of the means, plans, etc. Use metaphors and analogies to help illustrate an issue or paint a picture with words. Reframe, to help understand from another perspective what he/she wants or what he/she is unsure of.

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