Practical Book Review Why Don't We Listen Better by James Petersen

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Practical Book Review One:
James Petersen

Presented to
Dr. Marcus Tanner
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
Lynchburg, VA

In Partial fulfillment
Of the requirements for the course
PACO 500 Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

By
Margaret Tlusty
February, 2012
HEY!
My Summary
Petersen, James C.2007. Why don’t we listen better? Communicating and connecting in relationships. Tigard, OR: Petersen Publications.
James Petersen (2007) uses five parts to describe the talking and listening to help us process a better way of communicating and understanding each other. They are provided to help us connect in our relationships with others. According to Petersen, most of us think we listen well, but we don’t. Not really hearing what others have to say, can be costly to relationships and how people feel toward one another. In Part One, Petersen creates a “Flat Brain Theory of Emotions” that explains how our mind works and what goes on with it to make us act the way we do and in the manner we communicate to others. “In my experience, understanding how this mixture of thinking and feeling affects us and our relationships goes a long way towards reducing our clashes and disconnections. It gives clues about how to communicate our concerns and how to listen so others can calm down, think, and act more clearly” (11). In Part Two, Petersen uses his creative cards for helping the communication process. The point of the cards is to help us become better listeners and taking turns listening and talking. It is important to listen first thoroughly before talking to others. “If you listen while the other person talks, you not only get a clearer picture of what the other is saying, but you gain time in the back of your mind to figure out what you think-before it’s your turn to talk”(58). This way you can respond with a genuine answer because you really listened to what the person had to say. Part Three gives basic techniques of listening for us to use and find out which ones work best for our own style. It gives different examples of using them in our talking and listening experiences. There are two levels of communicating that are explained: first level is the exchange of information and the second is a deeper level of trusting and expressing our true feelings and spirit. In Parts four and five, Petersen puts it all together with examples on how to use the process of talking and listening effectively. He gives examples of how to use his theory of “Flat Brained Syndrome” to overcome issues and people with the syndrome. In the end, he shows you how to become a better person that good things happen due to having great communication skills. He uses examples of different circumstances that can affect our listening skills in different ways and how to approach these scenarios. Petersen says “that if your insides match your outsides, then what you say is what you mean. If you can be this way with people in your listening relationship, it’s like creating, a substantial fund in your bank that others can draw on to invest in their own lives” (211).

YOU! My Reflection
After reading this book, I have gathered a lot of insight on communicating with other people as well as with my own family. After being so overwhelmed in this class with directions and handouts I don’t really understand; it was refreshing to read something that is a bit simpler. I have never had a problem not listening to people, even when they did. I have a friend that calls me every day and I listen to all the things that are going wrong in her life and I try to give my advice, however I can never get a word in edge wise long enough for her to listen to what I have to say. It’s a very frustrating situation, however I never have told her how I felt and I let her do it. I am not sure why God still has her in my life, however there has to be a...
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