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Presented to [Professor’s Name] Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary Lynchburg, VA
In Partial fulfillment Of the requirements for the course PACO 500 Introduction to Pastoral Counseling ________________________ By Mulrone G. Goforth November, 2009 Disclaimer: This Practical Book Review is being used as an example with the permission of its student-author. Though your review may find this submission to contain some proofreading and formatting errors, it captures the intent of the assignment expectations even though some areas needed further attention. Notice the clear organization of content and the student’s use of “striking influence” as discussed in the DB Expectations’ document (see About Your Course>Essential Elements>DB Expectations). NOTE: You will not be able to use this material in the submission of your PBR.
Why don’t we listen better? Communicating and connecting in relationships. Tigard. the heart compresses the brain against the top of the head thus flattening the brain which results in the flat brain syndrome” (25). 2007.” Interestingly. OR: Petersen Publications. Healthy communication requires an individual to use his brain to state the facts. Emotions are often felt in the stomach area.HEY! My Summary Petersen. Petersen suggests that unresolved conflicts or other emotions often reside in the feeling area (stomach) when they are not properly dealt with. listens and speaks. to explain what happens when we allow our emotions to affect our thinking which in turns affects our ability to communicate and connect effectively with others. we then use our brains to come to conclusions or evaluate facts and eventually make our case. and actions influence interpersonal conversation: “The stomach fills with feelings to such a point that it presses the heart upwards. When we are afraid. we have a feeling in the pit of our stomach. His approach is very unique as it describes poor communication habits and the relational problems that occur when we fail to listen to one another. When an opportunity arises. his stomach to express how he feels about the facts and his heart to use that information to relate to another individual in a fair. Petersen (2007) presents an interesting word picture to describe how thoughts. 2 . James C. those unresolved feelings will often swell up into a vast array of emotional responses. In its natural state. We often describe excitement as “butterflies. Being forced upwards. it operates from a win-win mode. Petersen has coined the phrase "flat brain theory" (10). The heart area describes the actual desire to relate. loving way (16). It gives and takes. feelings.
As this happens. After thoroughly examining the roles and goals of the talker and listener. Petersen suggests that those learning to improve their communication skills print out a Talker/Listener card to use as a reminder of the roles and goals of each participant. I own the problem. and how to deal with anger. labeling. I do not own the problem. It describes the goals of talking as: to share my feelings and to share my thoughts. The goals of the listener are: to provide safety. The Talker side reads: I am the most bothered. It then suggests that this is accomplished without judging. This book offers a solution to putting an end to the negative cycle of flat brain communication. seeing. These goals are accomplished without agreeing. “What in the world was I thinking when I decided to read this book?” Well. YOU! My Reflection After I read the final page of the book I said. to understand. I was probably thinking that I had no choice but to read it if I wanted to successfully pass this course. He also includes a section on using his Talker/Listener card in group settings. or accusing. Petersen completes his book with a look at other communication tips such as what questions not to ask. the squished heart is no longer functioning from a loving win-win stance. In addition. how to show empathy. disagreeing. The Listener side of the card states: I am calm enough to hear. or defending (51). advising. attacking. but instead becomes defensive and attacks (11).This swelling process expands the stomach area (figuratively) which in turn flattens the heart and subsequently the brain area. and speaking of the affected person. The response I had after reading the book was due to the 3 . and to clarify. the squished brain does not function properly and this affects the hearing.
which forces me to become more aware and accountable for my responses. “Our cultural norm says that when attacked. “I can spend whatever I want since I work and you don’t. I knew that I was going to spend at least one – hundred dollars. It turns communicating into win/lose games” (35). I felt I had the right to defend myself. and I told her two – hundred dollars. the salesman (who was a body builder) persuaded me to buy more and spend more than I wanted. 4 . my wife reminded me that we were on a budget since we were saving for a vacation where she and I would spend a week of quality time together. we have a right to defend ourselves. Well. I promised her that I would not exceed the hundred dollar limit. A mortar fired in defense kills as thoroughly as one fired in attack” (34). and so did my wife. It took three days for us to get past it and move on. She said. LOOK! My Investigation I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Is that useful in relationships?” He goes on. “Courtroom escalation creeps in to how we relate.fact that it made me see my short comings clearly. “How could you do that? What were you thinking? I became very defensive and said. Before I left the house. When I got home and my wife asked how much I spent. the war of words between two flat-brains started. I can recall going to the mall so that I could purchase some supplements from GNC for my new weightlifting program. Peterson addressed this when he says. she was livid. defense and attack are identical. “Keep in mind that though we call it defense. However. when I arrived at the store and started looking around.” Needless to say. I would have liked to see a chapter in which Petersen speaks to counselors by sharing some of his counseling sessions (without actual names.
feelings.of course) where tough communication problems were present in a relationship. For instance. Consequently. then I accept the challenge since Inspiration presents this practice and directive so clearly (Paul built bridges by drawing upon the presence of a different philosophy: Acts 17:15-32. how does the study of the word of God in conjunction with the Holy Spirit help us in becoming transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we might avoid becoming flat-brained? Such an approach can help me understand how to incorporate God in checking my emotions. or paradigms: Phil.e. Rice 2009g) within Petersen’s goals to counter flat – brained theory. One of the main things that surprised me about this book is that Petersen’s approach seemed more therapeutic and theory based than Bible based. philosophies. I really think I can build bridges with this material by asking some basic spiritual questions. especially my wife. insights. by thinking soulically (i. the connected self: Rice 2009c) I can assess my thinking. how does the Holy Spirit help us in containing our emotions? Furthermore. under the overarching influence of imitating Christ as a considerate husband. Rice’s view of the self coincides with Petersen’s goal for curing flat – brained syndrome. but I would rather he balanced his approach between the two. In other words. The material from this book interfaces with a comprehensive view of self (as suggested by Rice’s Multi – faceted View of the Self”. Interestingly. I do acknowledge and appreciate the truths. Perhaps this book was placed in the course to challenge me to learn to moderate a judgmental attitude in order to find value in differing paradigms or perspectives. I am not against theory at all. if that is the case. For example. Petersen 5 . Paul also encouraged a considerate attitude toward those with differing perspectives. and techniques presented even with the lack of biblical luster. choices and the way I am relating to others. 4:5). This would have helped me get a full grasp on how he uses his techniques in action (especially since I am an aspiring counselor).
so we can tell our story or make our point” (115-116). I would say that I have also discovered that I can often come across as mean to others due to the fact that I am straight forward in my approach. Finally. When Petersen suggests building supportive relationships (31-2). I tend to do more talking than listening. “While we’re quiet and watching the speaker. which is D/I/S dominating. choices/consequences. the Hawkins' Pastoral Assessment Model (Hawkins 2009b/c) provides a means whereby we can source or locate habituated patterns (thoughts. pastoral counseling is empowered to resource the process of dehabituation and rehabituation through a solution-based/blessed approach that operates under an overarching goal of imitating Christ. Petersen’s book in general deals with mastering self in communication and relationships. feelings.suggests clarified thinking and reducing emotional disturbance (31) will help us see ourselves and the way that we choose to react when we feel a certain way. inspiring.e. self. as well as how we can change habits or patterns which are negative. and submissive (7 Gift/DISC 6 . and when I do listen it tends to be what Peterson calls ritual listening. thinking systematically: Rice 2009e) in natural systems such as how we relate to friends and family. Likewise. Therefore. what we’re really doing is waiting for the other person to shut up. and relationships/systems) that negatively influence the way counselees relate to God. The way that I am perceived and my actions and reactions are in direct relation to my DISC personality blend. and how we relate to others when we feel that way. DO! So. and others. what am I going to do? I would say that the main thing I am going to do is learn how to listen more than talk. it can be applied to dealing with the constrained self (i. especially in how we relate to others in relationships.
which include ideas. These techniques should get me on the right track with my relational style. I need to learn to repeat accurately what the speaker is saying so they will know I am listening.Profiler 2009). I will need to use several listening techniques. talk second” (125). try to place myself in others’ shoes. There are several techniques in this book that can be used in counseling. There is no doubt that I would use the techniques outlined earlier in this paragraph to 7 . facts. practice waiting and gathering more information before I respond. I must acknowledge by using words. views. mainly for homework. I am going to take action by learning to let others take charge. My wife is a good person to hold me accountable my telling me when I am being a bit too overbearing. I will definitely use parafeeling. I am an excellent communicator (CSA 2009). and what they express means something (126). the listener understands that they are being attended to properly. or put the talker’s feelings (emotions) in my words so they what they’re feeling is understood (130-1). I will learn to use para – thinking also. In order to improve my relational style. observations. Para – thinking involves putting the talker’s thoughts. One thing that I will definitely put in practice is to allow others to hold me more accountable. As Petersen says. When putting their thoughts into my words and letting them hear it. and perceptions. Most of my dominating style is due to a lack of accountability since people expect me to often take charge. tones and body language that tells a person its fine to feel a certain way. I would prefer to stick with the structure given by Hawkins (2009fgh). I would have the counselee utilize the talker/listener cards and playing the listening games at mealtimes. but I can also be controlling and dominating at times. Within the session however. into my own words (132-3). “Listen first (and longer) and then.
8 . and not talking too much and moving the counselee forward.ensure that I am using active listening appropriately.
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