To understand…

Lately I was really annoyed with some of my student colleagues. We are having our first class, that’s really only about therapy & co and I find it really cool, because that’s what I want to do later. We can choose between 5 profiles, so you really don’t have to do this class unless you’re interested in becoming a therapist. And what do they do to annoy me?

They make fun of the techniques we learn. They make fun of that we learn not to form snap hypothesis and diagnosis, but to ask questions and really understand the problem, and that’s not cool and doesn’t really sound smart assed like the psychotherapists on TV (e.g. Roger in Friends, Season 1, The One With The Boobies, 13, couldn’t find a link…).

It’s like in school or kindergarten – what the teacher says it’s just sooo not cool. It’s exactly like when you learn about the human body and reproductive organs and everybody is just giggling and makes fun of you, if you say the things like there are without giggling.

Making a psychotherapeutic conversation is surely not fun and cool, we don’t learn how to write a good script for a TV-Show and you would sound geeky if you do it with your friends, but it’s also not supposed to be fun, cool or smart assed. It’s supposed to help people and if you want to be a therapist, you better learn it and understand it, otherwise just don’t go to that class! We’re not in school anymore, drop the bullshit!

So – let’s go to the big picture:

I was rethinking my concept of understanding a lot lately. I always thought of my self as someone, who wants and tries to understand everything all the time, that’s why I’m always asking questions and most people are annoyed by that, especially my teachers. That’s also why most therapeutic techniques sound kind of natural to me and I thought: “Great, I got the idea :)”.

But lately I’ve noticed that it’s not that simple at all. What comes naturally to me is the desire to adjust everything to my view of the world, to find its right place and that desire is pretty much universal to all people.

So I’m talking to someone, I say what I’ve understood from his tellings and we usually come to the aha(or yeah)-moment: “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve meant, I’m so glad that you understand me”. That moment is also the cue for putting a check-mark next to the “understood?” mental box and everything is all right.

The catch is, that I have to have that moment too and sometimes his and my aha-moments doesn’t match. If I have the moment first, it’s not so bad – I just keep asking. (I thought I’ve got it, but I was wrong, so we need more information and it usually helps.)

If he has the aha-moment first and feels already understood, he has made his point, but it still doesn’t make any sense to me, then we have a problem, basically because we can’t go anywhere, unless he gives me an answer, that fits in my way of thinking and understanding the world (the why-part). Usually I’m very open-minded and I never had such moment, because I can easily imagine, how something must have felt for someone or so and somehow fit it in my spectrum of possible ways other people think.

But about a week or two ago, I had such a moment with my brother. The problem is simply, that we have experienced a lot of things together and although it’s clear to both of us, that it must have felt differently for the other one, it seems like both of us can’t understand how different it was, because we had the idea of how it should have been for so long in our heads.

Now I feel like we both know, that it was not nearly so, like we thought it was for the other, but we both can’t really understand why. Why the hell would he/she feel that way, while I felt that other way and I’ve always thought that he/she feel like a whole other way and I’ve imagined what I would feel like a whole new other way if I were he/she back then. (idk if any of you can understand that sentence, but you know- ask πŸ™‚

So after a lot of thinking, I’m hoping to find my peace on the topic by saying: “Well, now we at least know, that it wasn’t like we thought, that’s still something. And if someday we really truly and fully understand how the other one thinks and feels, we would be able to really understand the why-part too”.

A great song for closing:

What’s your strategy for understanding other people?



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16 Responses to “To understand…”

  1. Bain Says:

    With all due respect, why didn’t you tell THEM to shut the hell up, if they are not so interested in learning and stop ruin it for other people? Why are you telling us your disappointment with your fellow class mates, but are not telling them? Perhaps you could have shut them up for good…

    • teo Says:

      I wasn’t clear. They weren’t doing that during the class, but while they were hanging out. I was sitting next to them in the cafe and I asked them: “Why do you come to the classes, if you find it stupid, we don’t have to be in that class?” and one of them said, that her program is full the whole morning and as she’s already in the university and all of her friends have that class too, she prefers to sit there, listen to the stupid things and answer a few mails or so…

      So I thought, that there’s no point in talking to her/them more on the topic and while they’re not loud in the class, it shouldn’t bother me anymore. But it did somehow continued to annoy me and therefore I shared it here, which pretty much helped a lot – never seen an introvert in action before? πŸ˜‰

  2. Bain Says:

    I see a problem, I fix it, usually. And if the problem are people, and I can’t fix them, I might as well punish them. Not very good from psychological point of view, but usually works out fine. I recommend you do this.

    Also, it doesn’t matter if it bothers you in class or not, it matters that what they are doing is wrong. That needs a change, does it not? You just have to find the right path to do it. If I am not wrong, you will share plenty of time with them so I have the feeling that you will get the chance to change things if you desire so.

    • teo Says:

      Your way is effective, but it wouldn’t work out for me, because I don’t think that I have the right to “punish” other people, at least surely not in that situation.

      πŸ˜€ nice lolcats suggestion, but that is really not suitable for my introvert inner self, as what happened doesn’t bothers me enough or not even at all anymore πŸ™‚ (that’s what blogotherapy is for)

      What they do is wrong? They surely have the right to discuss things from class in the way they want to after class, freedom of speech and mind => nothing wrong. It would be wrong to become a psychotherapist with that attitude, but I’m sure, that it wouldn’t happen – either their attitude will change or they’ll choose a different career. There is a long way to go, before you can call yourself a therapist and nobody will go trough it with that attitude.

      If I share plenty of time with them, I’ll talk it trough & co and may be something will change, but it’s not my task and surely not my desire to change it right now.

  3. Bain Says:

    Doesn’t bother you, you say? If it didn’t, you’d never make the topic about it. I don’t think you are one of those 2-publications-per-day type of people. So there must have been something that ticked inside you and caused you to write this.

    I am certain that this disturbs you more than you realise, and for reasons unknown. Only you can tell us why this affected you.

    *sits on a chair, put on reading glasses and starts talking with warm, pleasant voice*

    Now, my child, tell me how they first started to disturb you…

    *therapist reference*
    *therapist can actually be read as “the rapist”*

    • teo Says:

      O God, what did you have to say that last one, I could have live my whole life without noticing, now I’ll start saying “consultant”… bad bain, bad…

      So – you’re right, if it didn’t bothered me, I wouldn’t write that post and as I’ve said, it did bothered me, but it doesn’t anymore, at least not as much for me to go in the offensive.

      I’m not the 2-publications-per-day person, I’m the as-much-publications-as-I-feel-like-per-as-long-as-I-like-and-manage person and a lot of things ticked inside of me lately, partly because I couldn’t find the time to share some of them here and do some blogotherapy ;).

      What bothered me the most was that interaction with my brother, that raised so many questions and forgotten emotions. And as I was sitting in the cafe, wondering how can I be so wrong in my thinking that I’ve understood something or someone and questioning if I’ll do that in a therapy too and what can i do to have a better understanding of the process of understanding people, I heart these girls talking about the class. It annoyed me, because I was thinking all these stuff because some little interaction with my brother, and they were acting like in kindergarten and showing no respect or interest of the process of understanding people.

      Therefore I asked them why do they bother to go the class, got an answer. Afterwards I was still feeling annoyed, partly because of that and partly because of the thoughts, that I described above too, that’s why these things are in one post and that’s why I’ve written the post. And I felt better afterwards. And I feel really good now, regarding that topic. Most people writing poetry or short stories are like that (I would say).

      I don’t know if it disturbs me more than I realize, if so, I hope that I’ll realize it sometime and do something more about it πŸ™‚

      So grandpa, satisfied?

  4. Bain Says:

    Yes, because, you see, you didn’t mention it over there in the topic, but the FIRST described reaction was actually caused by the SECOND one. You really explained them both in the wrong line.

    You see, if it wasn’t the argument with your brother /not discussing the argument itself, we’ve all had the “Omg, you are so close to me, how come you can’t understand what I understand” moments/ you wouldn’t be thinking so hard over people and different understanding, and different thinking. Perhaps you wouldn’t have cared. Perhaps you would be disturbed only by the fact that the coffee you ordered had only 1 sugar instead of 2 sugars.

    Now, my child, you see? If it wasn’t your brother disturbing you in the first place, the second wave wouldn’t be disturbing you at all. You actually had it all wrong in the publication, because you think that the main thing was their neglect of your subject of study, while it was only the secondary.

    Loah, I am pretty good at this stuff. Too bad I’ll only be dealing with psycho murderers. With my skills, people would definitely find me useful at some point. Too bad.

    Or not. I hate socialising.

    But anyway, my child – see? See? Now we reached some kind of understanding. You aren’t so disturbed by that subject-neglecting class mates, no. But you are disturbed by your brother’s reaction, and a lot more than you think, obviously.

    That would be for today. Next session called for next week.


    P.P. My fee is 100$/hr. We accept credit cards. Her majesty the Royal Visa preferred.

    • teo Says:

      I’m glad that you’ve reached better understanding of what I meant πŸ™‚

      And no Visa for you, because this didn’t serve my understanding, but yours. I never thought that the girls were the “bigger” or the “real” problem, but vice versa. That’s why I started with them – you start with the “appetizer” and then go to the “main dish”. I thought that would be clear to the readers trough the phrase “let’s go to the big picture” meaning “so, the actual problem is…”

      10x for pointing out, that that what I meant was not clear in the way I thought πŸ™‚

      and good night πŸ™‚

      PS. you can deal with whoever you want (in principle) πŸ˜‰

  5. Svetlina Says:

    A teacher who`s annoyed by questions is no teacher. And I mean it. Teaching should be desired by teachers, right? After all you spend years in the university, you take the stupid classes your friends take, you go to coffee places and class mates ask you silly questions… it`s all for the dream of TEACHING somebody something, isnt` it?

    • teo Says:

      If you are a good teacher – it is πŸ™‚ Unlikely good teachers are rare, at least I didn’t have a lot of them. And even in Germany to study teaching is kind of the “last choice”, if you don’t get accepted to something else, so the majority of teachers didn’t really desired to be one….

  6. Svetlina Says:

    This is why in some ancient societies you had to pay for the honour to be a teacher/mayor/authority.

    • teo Says:

      πŸ˜€ I’m not sure if money would be a good solution to the problem. Actually in the past the teacher was the smartest man in the village or something, everyone had respect for him, nowadays it’s not like that at all, at least not under the “young” people.

      So if we want better teachers, we should respect them more. But we don’t want to respect them more while they’re not as good as we want… What do you do? Go! πŸ˜‰

  7. Svetlina Says:

    Give teachers exams – on their subjects + the names of their students. Whoever fails, ban him from teaching. When you filter the 10 good teachers, give them the salaries of all the others, show them on tv and change the universities: whoever wants to be a teacher has to be taught by these 10 – either he has to be chosen by them, or he has to pay the government awful lot of money.
    I`m good at plans πŸ™‚

    • teo Says:

      Yep, that’s a plan, I’ll vote for you πŸ˜‰ There’s just one tiny problem – we need MORE teachers, so we can’t filter just the good ones, because they’ll be not enough for all the students…
      I really think that just having better consulting before choosing a profession (so that the right people choose this profession) and improving the prestige of the teacher-profession would be enough, it’s just hard to do while having a lot of bad teachers, but not impossible πŸ™‚

      btw, why didn’t nobody respond to the actually question of the post: “What’s your strategy for understanding other people? ” ?

  8. Svetlina Says:

    Okay. I`ll fire 60% of the students as well.

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