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A SHORT COURSE IN RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION.pdf

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A SHORT COURSE IN RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION (FREE) By Daniel Keeran, MSW, President, College of Mental Health Counselling 1 A Short Course in Respectful Conversation (free) By Daniel Keeran, MSW, President, College of Mental Health Counselling www.collegemhc.com Knowledge and skills in respectful conversation are essential for healthy personal relationships between two people and in groups, families, and organizations. The course
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    A SHORT COURSE IN RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION (FREE)  By Daniel Keeran, MSW, President, College of Mental Health Counselling     1  A Short Course in Respectful Conversation (free) By Daniel Keeran, MSW, President, College of Mental Health Counselling www.collegemhc.com  Knowledge and skills in respectful conversation are essential for healthy personal relationships between two people and in groups, families, and organizations. The course content is useful also for group leaders, counselors, and others wanting to facilitate the healthy experience of inclusive community and of life together. The reader or student is invited to complete assignments explained at the end of this description. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS The foundation of healthy relationships is based upon the following principles or beliefs: 1. Every human being has equal worth and dignity. 2. Everyone is entitled to his or her feelings and views. 3. Everyone deserves to be treated with the highest regard and importance. Conflict occurs when the above principles are ignored. If respect for others is maintained, conflict can be managed in healthy ways. UNDERSTANDING CONFLICT Conflict is something that can't be avoided no matter how hard we try. It's inevitable because people are individuals with different views, feelings, experiences, and ways of perceiving things. And so the object is not to eliminate conflict, but to try to work with conflict so that it has a positive outcome, such as bringing people closer or creating new ideas and new possibilities. People often find conflict to present major challenges. Those challenges are a major part of the life patterns that often come from a dysfunctional family of srcin: from significant unresolved conflict in the parental relationships or from significant unresolved losses. One may be overly passive or overly aggressive, or a combination of those behaviours. Ways of relating are often unintentional unconscious compulsions and often involve not knowing healthy alternatives to reacting out of emotion or habit. PRINCIPLES OF INCLUSIVE RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION The first principle  of inclusive respectful conversation is that no one has complete understanding of intangible truths fundamental to human existence and the meaning of life. The second principle  is to extend trust to others, believing that the overwhelming majority of human beings sincerely want to believe and do what is right and true. The third principle  is that integration and inclusiveness can best be achieved within a framework of respectful conversation in which all views are enthusiastically welcomed. The fourth principle  is that inclusiveness must be based upon mutual understanding rather than agreement.  2 We can be together in conversation when we accept the above principles and are committed to understanding others points of view even if we remain in disagreement on basic philosophies or worldviews. PARADIGM FOR INCLUSIVITY The paradigm of inclusive conversation is the shared value and goal of mutual understanding rather than agreement. BENEFITS OF THE PROCESS The process of working toward inclusive conversation is a worthwhile end in itself because of the following benefits: 1. Bringing people together from different philosophies and worldviews. 2. Stimulating meaningful discussion. 3. Encouraging respectful conversation in all relationships. 4. Fostering acceptance of the sincerity of others in their life journey. 5. Attracting others to the inclusive conversation message. 6. Providing personal face-to-face interaction and connection as a balance to internet social media. DISCUSSION GUIDELINES FOR RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION 1. No dominating. Keep comments brief. Over-talking can be interpreted as aggression or a need to control and dominate others. 2. No name-calling, negative innuendo, sarcastic put- down’s or threats of any kind.  3. Before responding to passionate views, try sincerely reflecting others views with whom you disagree. 4. Keep your voice volume normal and avoid shouting, yelling, pointing, or pounding your fist. 5. Ask others what they are saying rather than tell them what they are saying. Don’t put words in others mouths. 6. Avoid directing anger toward others, especially those with whom you disagree. Be consciously aware of five communication styles: passive, assertive, aggressive, passively aggressive, and destructive. PASSIVE STYLE The passive style tries to avoid a conflict. He is very agreeable. A sense of what he feels is subtle, and you or he may not really know what he feels. He is almost a non-person. You find it difficult to really get to know him. He may be a doormat. He may be agreeable or apologize prematurely. He'll avoid conflict at all cost. He keeps things nice. He won't express his own true feelings. He'll have a nice front with a capital N-I-C-E etched on  3 his forehead. He may not be able to make eye contact very well. His body language will be demonstrated by maybe slouching in the seat, not being able to sit up straight and look others in the eye. The person who has a passive style is behaving as if he doesn't believe that he has equal worth to others . He behaves as if he's not entitled to his own feelings and views and isn't entitled to be treated with respect . If you call him names or put him down, he won't stand up for his right to be treated with respect. He may just put his head down, or tuck his tail between his legs, so to speak. He may even agree with the person who labels him, or calls him names. He may also put himself down and call himself stupid. AGGRESSIVE STYLE The aggressive style may be defined as pushy, loud, dominating, and inconsiderate. He wants what he wants, and he may even order you to get it for him or do it for him. He may be obnoxious in a demanding, ordering way. So he may accuse and blame other people, pointing the finger. The aggressive individual behaves as if he alone has worth, and you don't. He behaves as if he alone is to be treated with respect, but he'll treat you with disrespect. He'll behave as if only he is entitled to his feelings and views; only he is entitled to be treated with respect.  So he'll dominate the time. He'll interrupt you if you are talking, or he just won't leave you any space for your point of view. He'll insist that he's right and you're wrong. Deep down inside the aggressive individual is very insecure and afraid, and has low self-worth. He has very low ego strength. If he had a stronger sense of himself, he wouldn't have to be so pushy. Aggressive behaviour is often protecting a weak sense of self, a weak ego. The bully is a classic example. PASSIVELY-AGGRESSIVE STYLE A variation on aggressive style is passively aggressive style, which is demonstrated by the indirect or passive expression of hostility. When protesters lie down in front of whatever they're protesting, or refuse to move, this is passive aggression. Passive resistance is passive aggression. When I was in the army I was told to scrape the wax off the floor and to strip the floor in the hallway. Well, I was in there against my choice. I was drafted, and I was a conscientious objector, so when I was given that task, I deliberately worked on one square inch for the whole day. I accepted the task, but not gladly. That was passive aggressive behaviour. I resented being forced into the army and being given those tasks. Deliberately burning the toast at breakfast is another example. Sabotaging, undermining, talking about people behind their backs are all passive aggressive behaviours. So these people don't really speak their feelings directly. They may use a punitive silence, or refuse to speak to somebody for a long period of time. The “ cold shoulder ”  is passive aggressive, as also is walking away from a person when he is talking, or yawning in your face, or similar behaviour. DESTRUCTIVE STYLE Destructive style is characterized by hitting, throwing, name-calling, threats, yelling and screaming. It includes any behaviour that is destructive of property, of self-esteem, of the sense of safety, or physically of a person's body. Name-calling is a good example, and so is using judgmental terms to demean a person. Sarcastic put

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