Contact means the mutually related awareness of at least two people. This requires several things:
• Firstly, it requires a differentiated self-perception. This includes an unimpeded and spontaneous admittance of the feelings and sensations which are developing. The more inhibited someone’s perception, or the more someone is dependent upon not feeling particular sensations, the less ‘material’ he can make available to others for dialogue. Instead, he must talk about superficialities or external things, which is communication in the sense discussed here, but does not lead to dialogue.
• Secondly, someone must be able to internally process these perceptions completely and flexibly. Only in this way can one flexibly balance the interest in the other and the interest in oneself.
• Thirdly, one must also be able to put one’s own experience into words. Those who can articulate and differentiate what they experience exactly, find it easier to engage the relatedness of the other party. It awakens interest.
• Fourthly, it requires the ability to handle affirmation and rejection. Those who immediately go out of contact when there is insufficient affirmation of that which is their own, will quickly run into problems, particularly in the working environment and in their love life. As a counsellor, it is important to be able to be discomforting. Without this affirmation independence, he cannot make a reliable contact available to the client, when the client is dissatisfied or feels misunderstood.