Guiding Communologue

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Communologue Interventions

by Al Turtle (written in 2006)

I believe that whatever we guides are doing we want participants to understand and to eventually start doing it themselves.  Thus any time a guide intervenes, I think it would be good to be able to let people clearly understand the reason for the intervention.  At one time I was thinking of numbering the possible types of interventions.  (“That is a #4 intervention, folks.”) 

Here’s my list.  I think a CGIC (Communologue Guide Interventions Card) would perhaps be a half page long and explain the logic of each type of intervention.

The goal is that eventually these interventions are not necessary or are being done smoothly by the participants without the help of the guide.

  1. To regulate speed: to slow the fast talker, to let people absorb many topics shared at once.  Type of Intervention = Mirror including interruption and support on regulation of speed.  “Hold on.  Let me get that…. Now, Go on.” Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who experiences me as talking too fast, with too many words or ideas, too quickly or too much for them to track, (this may include their needing to translate my words to their own language) To interrupt me and slow me down – so that all my listeners can be comfortable.”
  2. To contain and convert MasterTalk of any form: direct or indirect.  Type of Intervention = Mirror, including rephrase with boundary inserts.  “I hear that you believe/think that ……” Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me, and who experiences me speaking in MasterTalk  in such a way that makes them uncomfortable, to interrupt me and invite me to repeat my message with less MasterTalk  – so that all my listeners can be comfortable.”
  3. To contain and convert any Language of Blame: direct or indirect.  Type of Intervention = Mirror and inclusion of “self” or “other” boundary cues, and reminders of mutual responsibility.   “I hear that you may think that is all their responsibility.  What do you think may be your part in the situation…”  Or “I hear you thinking it is all your fault.  I wonder what part you think is their responsibility…”Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me, and who experiences me blaming others too much or taking on too much guilt or self-blame, to gently interrupt me and remind me of mutual responsibility for relationship interactions.”
  4. To contain and convert the projections in frustrations. Thus to validate the speaker and simultaneously protecting and validating the “projected upon,” the person who does the triggering behavior.  Type of Intervention = Mirror including rephrases, boundary inserts and PreValidation of the target of the projection.  I believe that if frustrations are part of the material the group is facing, then the word Trigger and the dynamics of frustrations should be taught.  “Let’s see if I have that.  You believe that so and so did such and such.  And that triggered and bothers you a lot.  And while we know that so and so is making sense doing what they are doing, you want to share your distress.  Go on.” Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me, is hearing me speak of my frustration(s) and who believes me focusing on triggers or the triggering people in my life in an uncomfortable fashion, to interrupt me and invite me to focus more on sharing the internal causes of my reactions to those triggers – so that I may be validated, and that all my listeners especially a person who may have done the triggering behavior, can be comfortable.”
  5. To convert questions into statements and invitations, and also remove any tone of demand.  Type of Intervention = Mirror the question, invitation to share what is behind the question, and then invitation to anyone who might want to respond.  “So you are wondering about such and such… Could you say more why that interests you. Go on…. Does anyone have anything to share concerning this person’s curiosity.” Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who hears me asking a question in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, to interrupt me and invite me to share what are my thoughts and internal statements that have led me to ask the question – so that the asking of my question can be validated and so that all my listeners can be comfortable.  I also encourage the person I am questioning to respond to my question only as they wish – so that the person I am addressing may be comfortable.”
  6. To manage the space/time. Type of Intervention = Brief Interruption. “We take a break in 10 minutes.  Go on.” “You’ve been sharing for about 20 minutes.  Could you wrap up your thoughts and let someone else share, please.”  “The session ends in 10 minutes.  Let’s wrap it up.  Anyone got some final thoughts.”  “This session is over. Let’s get back together tomorrow at 9AM.” Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who notes any issue of the space needs or time needs of the group, to interrupt me so that I can participate fully in those group needs and so that all listeners may be comfortable.”
  7. To invite clarity.  Type of Intervention = Mirroring including substitution of concrete words/terms/name for abstract terms; or and invitation to be more specific.  The purpose is to a) invite more candid, frank, open, trustful, undisguised, and up front communication; and b) discourage indirect, deceptive, misleading, confusing, disingenuous, evasive talk and obfuscation.  The goal is to improve the chance of people being easily understood and decrease the likelihood of confusion. The sentence, “People don’t seem to be speaking clearly.” is mirrored, “You don’t think Joe and Mary are speaking as clearly as you would like.  Did I get that?”  Or “Could you be more specific about whom you are speaking?” Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who experiences me as sounding unconfortably misleading or abstract, to interrupt me and help me speak more clearly so that I may be more easily understood and so that all listeners may be comfortable.”
  8. To invite depth of communication.  Type of intervention = “Pulling” statements, either directive or undirective.  An invitation to share more and to share more deeply.  The purpose is to a) invite more full, complete and easily understood sharing and b) develop an active conversational sharing tone with participative listening.  The goal is to improve the chance of people being easily understood, decrease the likelihood of confusion and increase involvement.  The sentence, “I had a really tough day.” is mirrored and pulled by “Please tell us about it.”  The sentence, “I don’t know.” is mirrored and pulled by “Please go ahead and share your guess or your hunch.”  The sentence, “He met me and we went to the court together,” is mirrored and pulled “Who’s the he in your sentence?”  The sentence, “Things are getting better for me,” is mirrored and pulled, “Why do you think that is so?”  The sentence, “When she did that I got scared,” is mirrored and pulled, “What about her doing that is scary for you?”  The tone becomes a little like a gentle interviewing process. Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who experiences me as being unclear or incomplete to invite me to say more and thus help me speak more clearly, so that I may be more easily understood and so that all listeners may be comfortable.”
  9. To guarantee validation. Type of Intervention = Clear PreValidation and Validation of any participant after a speaker appears to invalidate someone (present or absent).  This is a response to the tone of invalidation.  The purpose is to treat even the tone of invalidation as a small mistake and to not let that tone remain unresolved and to assiduously remove it.  The goal is to increase the chances of people sharing their diversity by firmly maintaining the tone of PreValidation. Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who experiences me as invalidating others, quickly and gently remind me of their validity and to validate or PreValidate them.  This is to help me remember to use PreValidation and to maintain the tone of PreValidation so that all listeners may be comfortable.”
  10. To handle interruption. Type of Intervention = Suspending Sharing from one person, Inviting and Completing the Sharing of another, Re-connecting and Completing the Sharing of the first person.  This is a response to the appearance of a high-energy event/reaction in one of the listeners.  The purpose is to ensure that hi-energy events/reactions, which may/probably will disrupt the group process and distract from the attention respectfully given the speaker, a) will be handled in a timely manner, b) with minimal interruption, and c) ensuring that the original speaker is invited to complete their sharing.  Follow the Setting the Cat Down principle. Encouragement: “I encourage anyone who is listening to me and who notices a powerful reaction in themselves or in others, to invite me to pause, while that other person’s reaction is shared and validated, and then to invite me to complete my point.”  

Proposed by Al Turtle on 1/26/06. 
Encouragements added on 4/19/06. 
#7 on Clarity added on 4/30/06.
#8 on Inviting Depths & 8 on Validation added on 6/1/06. 
#10 on Interruptions was added on 11/01/06. 
#3 on Language of Blame added on 11/27/07. It was inserted next to #2 on MasterTalk and this caused a renumbering.
Phrase “I don’t know” to be pulled, was added in #8 on 11/28/16.    


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