(From my report) In reading the book, I found a good amount of content that I thought would be very helpful in a counseling setting. I thought Petersen presented some tremendous ideas in his breakdown of the stomach being the place of emotions, the heart being the place of our humanity and reason, and our minds being the place of our judgment. When one is out of whack, it can affect all the other abilities. Understanding the ability for outside circumstances to cause these entities to be out of whack brings an understanding to why individuals act and respond the way they do to others’ communication and outside stimuli.
I also found his admonition not to own another individual’s problem to be indicative of the notion of self as explained in the Hawkins Pastoral Assessment Model. In the process of assessing a situation, a person must look within themselves and find the data and thought processes at their core. Attempting to own someone else’s problem not only robs them of the abilty to grow and learn how to handle future crises, but it interrupts the process already begun by the Holy Spirit.
What I did find odd about Petersen’s approach was unfortunately the “TLC.” It may simply be the culture of my raising and area, but I couldn’t even begin to fathom a moment where my family from when I was a child or even now that I’m married with a child would ever actually practice the game. Beyond the visual, the card game literally requires the desired participation of all parties in wanting to listen. The card in itself, despite its instructions, will mean very little to an individual who will simply learn to deafly buy his time until he gets to dominate a conversation.
I also found the notion of repeating back what an individual says outside of a counseling session to almost be instigative and almost rude. Again, it’s probably my culture and understanding. While I was able to see the benefit in this during counseling, I couldn’t help but think how annoying it would become if my wife and I lived by that idea on a day to day basis. It would seemingly almost become a game in itself and if one party didn’t properly participate, the idea of “winning” a conversation would still come into play.
In light of what I have read, I will no doubt take some great ideas away from the book. As I stated earlier, I did find his techniques of listening to be extremely helpful to consider in the process of a counseling session with a counselee. I do believe his putting together the notion of “flat-brain syndrome” was certainly timely and helps even the novice communicator understand someone’s actions and words. I do know I will be more mindful of my words and the reasons I’m speaking them. I also liked the idea of giving individuals a three day’s window of grace to recant their words as sometimes it takes time to realign the “E, H,” and “J.”
In light of my DISC profile, I’d say I’m probably naturally a terrible communicator and listener. My profile was a predominantly a “Lion” or a strong “D” personality. When one thinks of a lion, the animal's ability to get along with others and feel empathy usually isn’t connected. I have taken multiple assessments over the last few years as I understand that sometimes a person’s environment, stresses, or situations can alter how an individual feels or reacts. Over three years of testing, my profile has always been a strong “D” or a “Lion” with only an occasional secondary trait appearing. Reading this book, I devoured some great information, but in myself I could never imagine myself being able to carry out some of the conversations Petersen suggested he facilitated or could facilitate. I’ve waffled back and forth between even attempting to get any kind of degree in counseling for this and many other reasons as I feel my strong suit is more administration and leadership. Neverthless, as a pastor, I understand some form of counseling is expected and necessary. Reading this book and the three weeks already completed in this class has actually brought me to a place of finding myself and the need to be true to who I am and the gifts God has placed in my life. It’s in that place, that I’ve decided to make some changes in my academic focuses and ministerial strategy.