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Psychoanalysis • Psychotherapy • Counseling

David I. Brandt, LCSW, LLC

Montclair, NJ Area

Tools & Insights


Shared Meaning™

Posted on October 19, 2013 at 8:59 PM
Shared Meaning™

[Note: Push the "MORE" button below to continue this post.] 

All too often we converse with each other yet seem to be having two different conversations. One is speaking about apples and the other is speaking about oranges, though we think we are talking about the same things. 

The truth is we each process our experiences and interactions through our own subjective filters that are born of multiple sources (such as family of origin influences, genetics, what we've learned, self-esteem needs, peer interaction history, past traumas, projection, etc.).

All too often our pool of common or shared meaning is all too shallow. How can we gain more shared meaning?

We really have to walk a mile in the other's shoes - achieving empathy, actually - to really get the full meaning of the other's words and experiences. Each word or experience expressed by a person has a contextual background with unique associated feelings.  It behooves us to get to know and understand all of this to really "get" a person.

This work pays off nicely as intimacy starts to increase in proportion to the feelings of being heard, understood, validated, at times, and truly communicated with in general!!

These ideas sound easy enough, but they may, at times, require an ability to communicate through lots of potential walls and layers of subjective historic experience to arrive at achieving this shared meaning. But how rewarding to feel so heard and to really "get" someone.

Impatience, denial and various aspects of our personalities and histories might also be obstacles to achieving this shared meaning. These may need individual attention.  Also, communication ground rules may need to be in place before genuine and fruitful efforts to mine for this shared meaning and more effective communication can really happen. Not all partners can do this on their own. Many seek counseling and/or couples therapy and/or family therapy to facilitate this work. Others seek encounter groups or peer groups to raise consciousness around these ideas.

Categories: Adages to Live By, Adages to Live By for Therapists, Communication Skills, Couples Issues, Family Issues, Relationship Tools, Stuckness

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