The Guide's Role in Communologue
by Al Turtle written in 2006
This is the way I see it. The guide has three tasks.
- Introduces: verbally/visually and with handouts.
- Models: actions of what you call speaking, listening and interventions
- Teaches: background concepts if opportunities arise or if necessary.
Length of Introduction to Communologue depends on the group and the time available. For a long process (3 hour sessions 10 times or more) I think specifically teaching Validation / PreValidation as part of the introduction would be appropriate. For a short process (3 hour sessions twice) perhaps only the handouts would be used. For a very short process (2 hour only) perhaps only the guidelines and intervention page are handed out.
All desirable behavior is repeated demonstrated and practiced by the guide. This is kind of a "this is what ‘Empathic Listening’ looks like. This is what ‘Thoughtful Speech’ looks like. This is what helpful Interventions look like." I think most people have the behaviors of Empathic Listening and Thoughtful Speech in their repertoire of skills. But they may have never clearly separated those from other behaviors of "Unempathic Listening and Thoughtless Speech" that they also have in their repertoire. I think Communologue specifically "cleans the room" of what might be called un-empathic thoughtless behaviors. I think the brilliance of Imago and Communologue is to be able to concretely make these distinctions and to help us see the needed Interventions. The goal is to get the participants to be doing the EL, the TS, and the Interventions that guarantee it. That wonderful concept of Cognitive Dissonance will take care of making that happen. When this is achieved, the guide simply monitors the group for slips. The handouts should facilitate this process by pointing in the right direction and by pre-explaining the interventions – minimize surprises.
If time is available, or if the Guide runs into a situation showing a critical lack of skills in the group (e.g. handling frustrations safely, etc.), then the Guide stops the process and teaches verbally/visually the minimum necessary for the group to have a common framework and terms for approaching the situation. These teaching interventions can range from the short (brief tutorials on mirroring, MasterTalk, validation, empathy or any other kind of intervention), to the long (teaching boundaries, frustration, safety or other relationship concepts).