Mindfulness and the SLP: Guest post from Marilyn Certner Smith



Mindfulness and the SLP

What is most important in the therapy relationship?  Is it the careful application of treatment, providing feedback, imparting knowledge, connecting in a very personal and meaningful way, or, is it all of the above and not necessarily in that order.

How do people reveal what matters most to them when the aphasia interferes with just that.  Recovery requires that each individual make sense of the new normal in a very personal way.  Healing that leads to recovery on terms that are ultimately satisfying takes a very long time. 

So be it.  To make the long haul work, I need to be “present”.   Being present implies more than active listening. When I am in a present mindset, I listen and observe the person before me to not just hear what they say, but to understand what they mean when they say it, be it spoken verbally or not.  In a mindful state, I listen without judgment.  It is their life, their experience, their discoveries that they impart to me.  I take in this expression of important feelings and ideas of right now, so that I may join them in a meaningful dialogue. Am I hearing about a desire for a new direction in treatment, possibilities for work in the community, or troubleshooting conversation needs with family?  Or am I being told that time for much needed personal exploration is in order?  How would I know this if I did not really listen?

Therapy is a partnership.  To be a good partner, first, I must listen deeply in order to know what questions are being asked, or ideas are being explored before I even presume to have a response.




About Shirley Morganstein

I am a life participation therapist for people with aphasia, exploring the relational and reflective process.
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