Practical Book Review
Why Don’t We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships
Dr. Marcus Tanner
In partial fulfillment of the requirements of
Introduction to Pastoral Counseling
Liberty Baptist Seminary
James C. Petersen book, Why don’t we listen better? Communicating and Connecting in Relationships surmised good communication skills can be achieved through active listening, understanding from the part of the talker and the attitude of the listener. This process of sharing and connecting can be attained through our acceptance and valuing one another. The word communication derives from the root to “commune”, it has at least two levels- sharing information and connecting with others (Petersen, 2007, 18). Active listening allows a person to actually hear what is being said; this invites the talker to feel as though they are valued. By active listening gives a person the ability to interact and communicate that will bring about healthy and fruitful relationships. This book is a road map to helping people learn to engage in positive communication and foster wholesome relationships. Petersen explored how one can become a better communicator by using various tools; the flat-brain theory, the talker-listener card and exploring various listening techniques. Petersen explained the concept flat-brain theory as emotions that are displayed in our stomach, heart and brain. The brain is the central area of our communication this is where we find and form our words to say. The head functions incorporate thinking, planning, remembering, reviewing, deciding, rationalizing, what we consider the logical part of us (Petersen, 12). Petersen describes the stomach as the emotional area where we contain past hurt feelings, feelings of inadequacy, worry, anxiety which leads to not being able to store anything too many new things (23). The heart is the functionality of a person. How we function depends on how our heart is whether healthy or unhealthy. When our system goes out of whack Petersen refers to it as the Flat-brain syndrome. He describes it as our stomach expand with mixed emotions which cause our heart to turn into bricks sending our relating ability to respond inappropriately and ultimately the upward expansion from our heart causes our brains to flatten to the top of our head (23). A good communicator is able to balance these stimuli’s that causes one to become out of kilter. Petersen uses examples of how to make sure one is able to stay in control of his emotions, his actions and his arguments. The talker-listener process engages people to take turn in talking and listening. Petersen developed the talker-listener card in hope of promoting individuals to improve the ability to interact and communicate better. The card is placed in between two people or groups and the side that has talker that person or group will talk while the other side listens. After the talker finishes the card is turned around to give the other an opportunity to talk while the other side or person listens. This tool keeps a person or a group from talking while others are talking i.e. everyone is talking and no one is listening. As the saying goes we can all sing at the same time but we all cannot talk at the same time. Petersen formulated this idea in order to stop flat-brain tango. The rest of Why Don’t we Listen Better? Communicating and Connecting in Relationships deals with techniques in the development of good communication skills. However, Petersen notes that good communication hinges on authentic listening techniques (115). REFLECTION
I started playing sports when I was five years old; I have always had a competitive nature about myself. I guess it has to do with having an identical twin brother, always trying to outdo him. With that competitive nature I always wanted to win. In reading Petersen’s book I realized...