lesson four power of presence study guide individual track

Power of Presence Series

Individual Track Learning Guide

Lesson Four: Acknowledgment

Questions Worth Considering

4. “Health care professionals should be able to see the world through the patient’s eyes. They should balance between two different worlds: the patient's and their own. If they lean towards the patient side, they might fall into the trap of fully identifying with the patient and thus lose their role. If they lean towards the health care professional side, then the patient gets the message that they do not listen to him, they do not care about him, and they do not understand him.” - (Empathy and emotional intelligence: What is it really about? 2008)

5. “When people don’t feel alone - when they feel understood - they are able to view their circumstances in a more holistic, healing way. Presence offers this opportunity.”  - Soul & Science Lesson

6. “. . . Validation may be a direct curative measure, increasing self-esteem and decreasing negative affect.” - (Comparative Effects of Empathic Verbal Responses: Reflection Versus Validation 2013)

7.“In particular, mindfulness may change automatic response tendencies when the patient observes, describes, and participates in emotional experiences without acting on them. . . . Mindfulness may not necessarily reduce the overall intensity of the primary emotional response (nor should this be the “goal”); rather, mindfulness is likely to reduce or eliminate secondary emotional responses  . . . that normally would lead to additional suffering.” - (Mechanisms of Change in Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Theoretical and Empirical Observations  2006)

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Best Practices – (Choose at Least One)

1) “Recognition is what we offer when we engage with a person. How does our body language communicate with them?” – Soul & Science Lesson

For one week, set an intention to be more aware of your non-verbal body language when listening to others. Ask yourself:

  • Are you attending to this individual with your eyes?
  • What is your head doing? A head tilt is a signal that you are “interested, curious, and involved.” – (Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D)
  • Nod to show understanding.
  • Turn towards the individual, leading with your heart — both literally and figuratively.

2) “Legitimizing statements validate the patient’s feelings. For example, a provider might tell a patient who is nervous about surgery, ‘I understand that you are worried about this operation,’ or when counseling a cancer patient, a provider might say, ‘It’s easy to understand why you feel afraid and angry. Most people in your situation feel the same way at first.’ ” – (Improving Interpersonal Communication Between Health Care Providers and Clients)

Write a list of at least five “legitimizing statements” that could be used to validate a care receiver’s feelings. For one week, find opportunities to use this technique with others. Observe how this can be used in your personal life, as well.

3) “Validation [is] communicating to the client that his or her responses make sense and are understandable within his or her current life context or situation or that he or she is a being worthy of attention  . . . Validation involves being alert to, accurately reflecting, and conveying acceptance of the client’s behavior, thoughts, or feelings.” –  (Comparative Effects of Empathic Verbal Responses: Reflection Versus Validation 2013)

For one week make a concerted effort to include all three parts of validation in your caregiver/care receiver conversations:

  • Be alert to what the other person is saying
  • Reflect what the other person is saying
  • Show acceptance of a client’s behavior, thoughts, or feelings

Record how this affected or improved your interpersonal interactions.