We must always give our Venters the space they need to open up willingly to us, but we must not become lax.
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(written up by an experienced BT listener) •The Prime Directive: It Is Not About You Listening is a hard job to take on, and as Listeners, we voluntarily take it upon ourselves to, on top of our own lives and issues, take on the issues of the Venter and attempt to impart whatever unbiased wisdom we may possess concerning their problems.
This is the essence of peer counseling, and it is true that helping others does help us to help ourselves, in the end, it is not about just ourselves; peer counseling is about helping each other.
•The Principle of Positive Regard Three words define the great Listener: unconditional positive regard. Though it is true that sometimes people need “tough love” and I have been in the place of giving that tough love, all advice given should always be with unconditional positive regard for the Venter; they are a human being and they can improve themselves if they set themselves to the task, most of them are here because either they do not believe in themselves or because nobody has believed in them.
As Listeners, it is on us to believe in the ability of the Venter to make themselves better, to take them at their word, give them the benefit of the doubt, and to show them that it is entirely possible for someone to believe in them. It is impossible to shame or degrade a person into improving.
Negative regard does nothing more than communicate negativity, and the Venter likely already feels badly enough about themselves.
Some Venters’ issue IS that they have no faith or positive regard for themselves!
Show the Venter unconditional positive regard, and you will not only make their life that much easier, you will become a better Listener.
•The Persistence Principle: One And Done Is Never Enough As Listeners, we hear about every terrible act of which mankind is capable, and this can take its’ toll on us, but it is important to remember your Venters, to treat them as people, this means following up.