Language – Therapy Tales #87 (via Therapy Tales)

16 Oct

Had to reblog this …especially since I just finished writing an article on language usage in writing :P:P:P lol! sooooooo appropriate 🙂

Language - Therapy Tales #87 I have been reflecting on communication, attunement and the role of language. Of course language is not just words but also social mores, culture, history and identity. Can you truly communicate with someone who doesn't share your first language or culture? Or does it just meant that you have to work harder to make yourself understood? Is that a benefit or not? … Read More

via Therapy Tales

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2 Responses to “Language – Therapy Tales #87 (via Therapy Tales)”

  1. censormethis December 3, 2010 at 8:58 PM #

    Communicating with someone who shares neither your first language or your culture can be difficult, I am sure. And I am by no means educated in psychology, as you well know, Laura. But I do have some thoughts…

    If an open-minded person is given the opportunity to ‘communicate’ with someone outside of his language and culture, I feel that his efforts may be more sincere. He may choose his words and actions carefully to portray his intended communications. If received correctly, this may be a huge advantage. Causing one to consider his communications more carefully may enable him to evaluate his words and actions more closely than he would if speaking to someone with whom he shared language and culture.

    However, it also stands to reason that someone without the grace and patience needed to articulate his intentions to someone of different language and culture may very easily offend or disengage that person entirely; closing the door to any further attempts at conveying his message.

    But you, of course, have probably had some of these encounters, yourself. What are your own thoughts?

    • coffeecounsel April 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM #

      While one would “hope” that through careful consideration of words/thoughts that the intended communication might be portrayed in spite of cultural/linguistic barriers, the reality is that the best of intentions can be lost within those barriers. Culture is highly subjective. In psychology/counseling the importance of educating professionals concerning the cultural needs of clients (what is termed cultural competency) can not be overlooked. While if one expresses intentions (to learn/not do harm) these intentions can promote understanding and positive regard; however, the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind.

      In working with clients (or even in day to day interactions) one may not even be aware of offending due to cultural differences relating to body language, personal space, linguistic variations, etc. That potential for offense, on the other hand, should not prevent action and the goal to aide clients. Instead, it should foster awareness that encourages a counselor not to “assume” what a client means when he/she speaks…or even to assume that the client accepted the professionals words/emotions with the same impact that they were intended. 🙂

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