I was asked to write this article because I have a background in somatics and for me the biggest part of the therapy is the body language and working with the body itself.
Here at the CSS I only had the phone. That was my tool, my only means of intervention. Well…I had to do it….and I found out that it had its own advantages.
First of all I couldn’t see the person and my past experience and personal bias (the Tele effect) wasn’t getting in the way. The callers could have been ugly or beautiful, clean or dirty, rich or poor, fat or skinny, white, black, yellow and so on, and so on….these were just people in need-,right here, right now. And this was important!
Second I wasn’t able to observe their bodies and movements, but I was focusing my full and undivided attention to what they were saying and to the tone of their voices and how they changed -- the awkward silence, the pauses of hesitation and fear, the sobs of pain and despair, the suffocating anger, the stuttering of confusion, the subtle laughter of hope and faith, the sighs of relief .I was working with the body language of their voices.
And actually I was using the most important part of the listening, the actual organ of listening-my ears!!!
I found it very valuable.
Last but not least I would like to speculate a little bit about the caller’s point of view. I have a deep feeling that the fact that we were not able to see each other made them more secure about their anonymity, protection and confidentiality. They could have been anybody-a person with no face and a fake name. When you can not see the other person it is easier to tell your story, express your deepest feelings, explore your dark side, reveal burdening secrets, get in touch with your true self, embrace the privilege of being human. And all of this in just one call of 10-15 minutes .This is the advantage of being just a caller…who can not see and is not seen.
These three points make me realize that every approach to helping a person in need has its own advantages and disadvantages. What makes the difference is a sincere wish to help, a human presence, empathy and warmth and of course a good and solid training.