How to Have Healing Conversations
Do you usually have the kinds of conversations that put you back together after a bad day? Some people are skilled in the art of dialogue and empathy. They’re the figures that provide you with calm when your world is chaotic and upside down. With these people, you have conversations that are an exchange of ideas, emotions, and thoughts in which listening, respect, and harmony flow between you.
In fact, knowing how to converse is a cornerstone in any type of relationship, be it family, affective, or work. Thanks to this social competence, you reach agreements, strengthen your ties, and leave an enriching mark on others. Indeed, there’s nothing as decisive for human relationships as good communication.
However, one type of conversation transcends all others. It’s the kind that seeks to heal, soothe, restore, and comfort. Moreover, you don’t have to be a trained and registered therapist to carry it out. As a matter of fact, we should all speak and listen in more meaningful terms, with the clear purpose of helping others.
We should try to have less superficial talk and more healing conversations.
A healing conversation is a deep dialogue with the purpose of restoring a relationship between two people. Or, to confer mutual emotional support between them. But, this psychological craft isn’t simply an exchange of messages. To carry it out, you must master its components.
Some people have excellent dialogue skills yet are lousy healing conversationalists. That’s because, in the modality of interlocution, being witty, brilliant, or having great oratory skills isn’t relevant. A conversation that repairs is one in which there’s compassion, respect, and active listening.
As the psychotherapist Carl Rogers said, a good dialogue is one that manages to change people for the better. However, generating an enriching change in the other person requires working on yourself first. Here are the keys to help you carry it out.
1. Listen and be humble
Michael Lehmann, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, published a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology. He claimed that humility can be activated in human beings when they learn to listen to others.
Those who practice active listening have a heart and mind that knows how to connect with the vulnerabilities and complexities of the person in front of them. That’s because they also recognize their own. Healing and repairing must be done in a completely unselfish manner. Moreover, you must be able to listen to each other in an active and committed way.
Always remember: one voracious enemy of communication and compassion is arrogance. Humility is an interpersonal value that allows you to connect with others in order to heal.
Healing dialogues don’t use monologues. They apply an adequate reciprocity based on respect, emotional connection, flow of thoughts, and reflections.
2. Be a refuge for the other person
What does it mean to be a refuge for someone? As a matter of fact, it’s a dimension that we should all improve. Being a refuge for someone means taking care of your words, expressions, and attitudes so you can validate their emotional reality. It means making them see that you’re not going to judge or criticize them. It means showing them that you’re communicating sincerely and that you appreciate every word they say.
You can improve this competence by paying attention to the following:
- Choose and take good care of your words. Bear in mind that everything you say has an impact.
- Don’t be in a hurry to respond. Leave a few seconds of silence and prioritize what the other person wants to say.
- Don’t make value judgments or questions. Validate what the other person expresses.
3. Questions to awaken emotional awareness
“How do you feel? What was that situation like for you?…. Questions that seek to awaken emotional awareness make it easier for the other person to connect with themselves and vent their feelings. Indeed, we all often walk through life tied up in knots of anxiety and resistance.
For this reason, having a conversation with a friend in which you ask them how they’re feeling or what emotions they’re experiencing at the moment can change everything. It’s not an interrogation. You just want them to release their tension and put into words what they’re feeling inside.
4. Don’t be afraid to show your own vulnerability
Healing conversations are reciprocal. Therefore, although your desire is to comfort them, you too will feel healed and enriched by this type of communication. For this reason, you shouldn’t hesitate in showing your own vulnerability. Indeed, you should share your feelings and comfort each other.
It’s only by allowing yourself to be vulnerable that you can maximize your compassionate and healing behaviors.
5. Depth and reflection
Superficial and insignificant communication, far from strengthening ties, feeds the other person with insecurity. There’s no mental or emotional connection between those who don’t make any effort to go deeper or those who prefer to finish the conversation quickly or direct the dialogue to aspects of little importance.
Healing conversations seek depth, awaken reflection, open our minds, and promote new points of view and vital meanings. They involve philosophizing, playing with new ideas, and enriching each other with our different perspectives.
6. Closing and agreements
“What can I do from now on to make everything okay? What do you need from me? How can I help you? What goals do you have? Would you like to talk again later?”.
When there’s good dialogue between you, especially one that heals and comforts, you ensure you recap and close your conversation well. In this way, you reinforce the interaction and remind the other person that, if they need you, you’ll be there.
Every healthy and healing conversation is an exercise in perfectly balanced giving and receiving. Occasionally putting this form of communication into practice with the people you love will be both useful and rewarding. Give it a try.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Gaelick, Lisa & Bodenhausen, Galen & Wyer, Jr. (1985). Emotional Communication in Close Relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology. 49. 1246-65. 10.1037//0022-35188.8.131.526.
- Landis, M. H., & Burtt, H. E. (1924). A Study of Conversations. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 4(1), 81–89. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0071502
- Käsermann, ML., Altorfer, A., Foppa, K. et al. The study of emotional processes in communication: I. Measuring emotionalization in everyday face-to-face communicative interaction. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 32, 33–46 (2000). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03200786