Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Art Of Listening

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on August 14, 2013




“How is your marriage?” I ask. “We are getting new floors,” Nomi responds. “Am I supposed to make a connection?” I ask. “Well, we have been fighting about upgrading our house, and so now we are finally taking some action.” Nomi answers. “Yes, but does this tell me about your marriage?” I repeat, thinking that Nomi has reduced her marriage into winning a battle about floor coverings. “Well, I guess I am trying to say that my husband does compromise, but it takes a long time,” she says. “By compromise, you mean that you got your way?” I say, highlighting that she was pushing to spend money on home improvements and he was resistant. She laughs with acknowledgment. “I can understand that your marriage brings up such complicated feelings that you were searching for a way to capture the landscape and so you landed on your victory over the floors.” I say, helping her to see that her answer speaks to how unresolved she is about her feelings towards her mate. 

2 Responses to “Art Of Listening”

  1. Shelly said

    Interesting. Now I’m trying to integrate the photo (or saying) associated with this piece with the content of this blog. Are you saying that you as the therapist are listening to what Nomi is saying being the words and uniting what she is vocalizing with what is unsaid, or saying that Nomi should listen to herself and her husband more–his resistance to spending money and her desire to redo the house speaks alot about their method of communication?

    • I am saying both things. Many people ask questions but then do not pay attention to the answer and so the conversation flows without a focus. Both the person speaking and the person listening need to think about both what and how things are communicated. This makes for a more intimate experience. Thanks.

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