Digging Deeper : The Compass

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Digging Deeper

by Clinicians at Ganey Counseling on 05/26/15

Digging Deeper

Therapists quite commonly use the picture of an iceberg to depict the depth of someone's heart, mind, and soul. Most of us spend our relationships talking about what lies above the water line but ultimately we experience connection and intimacy when we can start talking about what lies below the water line. For some, weekly therapy is the only place where they experience someone connecting with them more deeply. Various things can make it hard to have relationships that truly connect and deepen over time. One of the main reasons we don't deepen our relationships by pursuing each other's hearts, minds, and souls is because we don't know how to do so or we fail to make the effort.


Here are some guidelines for asking questions that deepen relationships:

·      Avoid Asking "Why?"
Questions that begin with "why" can tend to put us on the defensive and more likely than not tend to shut down the conversation.

·      Ask Open Questions
Open questions encourage a response besides "yes" or "no." Instead of asking questions that start with  "did" or "can" try asking questions that start with "how" or "what." (i.e. How did your day go? v. Did you have a good day?)

·      Ask "Meaning" Questions:
"What did it mean to you that they selected you for the promotion?" This question can be a little tricky but when people are able to respond it can be profoundly impactful and connecting.

·      Ask Explorative Questions:
What was that like for you? How did that impact you? These questions allow someone to share more than just the facts of a story - it creates opportunity to share their emotional experience.

Submitted by Sarah E. Loew, MS

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