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Contact

You can say with good justification that every human difficulty is the result of unfavourable experiences with relationships. Man lives in a dialogic self (Staemmler). This is why it is so important to understand what dialogue, encounters and relationships enable. All this is based upon the ability to make contact. Contact is consciousness which is directed towards each other. What does this definition mean? People gain contact when they: 1.) perceive what is happening inside them, 2.) can express appropriately what they experience in relation to the current situation, 3.) are mindful about how others react to them and 4.) are able to understand the reaction of the other person and can process it. Each of these four points can be more or less impaired: individuals can have high limitations in their self-perception (siehe dort), they can tend towards not expressing what they experience, but rather, telling what happened (to them); they can talk in monologue without noticing the other and they can give the other person hardly any meaning beyond their own concerns, but rather, give them a function as a listener, helper, defendant, consenter, saviour etc..

Therefore, contact presumes a great number of abilities. As clients almost always suffer from limitations in their contacting ability, the counsellor (in compensation) requires a correspondingly high measure of contact competence and needs to make differentiated possibilities in the encounter available, which the client can take up and which do not overwhelm him. The art of meeting the client in the way in which they require, in order to gain more self-perception, consciousness, openness and understanding, can maybe be viewed as the most important of all on the side of the counsellor. Without contact nothing works! If you are in contact, you can make mistakes without this having a dysfunctional effect. With this consideration in mind, counselling training must work on the contact ability of future coaches, counsellors, supervisors etc., otherwise the basis is missing for all the rest.



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