Why We Don't Listen Better

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Practical Book Review One:

James C. Petersen, D. Min.

Presented to

Rev. Mario Garcia, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Lynchburg, VA


In Partial fulfillment

Of the requirements for the course

PACO 500 Introduction to Pastoral Counseling



Odell Joiner

November, 2011


Petersen, James C. 2007. Why don’t we listen better? Communicating and connecting in relationships. Tigard, OR: Petersen Publications.

"I observed that while other avoided grumpy people, all I had to do to reduce their grump-factor was to ask questions and let them tell me their stories. ... I also found that after I paid enough attention to their personal and political tirades, they became receptive to me too." (5) The above excerpt from Dr. Peterson's book, Why don’t we listen better? could be consider as the premise or purpose for his writing. Learning how to listen, digest what the other person is articulating, "putting yourself in their shoes" (understanding), and providing valuable input is his primary objective. At the very onset of Dr. Peterson's book, he use an illustration that gains the attention of the perspective reader. He recall an early experience, perhaps one of his first encounters as a young pastor counseling a couple. As he explained, he had little to know experience in this arena but he did have success. Dr. Peterson attributes his success to being able to listen, understand, and offer valuable insight. The perspective reader can identify his contentment toward this book by his claims of occasionally revisiting his book as source of knowledge, and that he wants the perspective reader to utilize the book as a guide (handbook) instead of a regular book on subject matter relating to communication. Dr. Peterson sets the foundations (according to his beliefs) for effective communication and interaction with others at the beginning of the book and uses these foundations as a sort of skeletal framework for the remaining of his work: Part One : The Introduction of Dr. Peterson's "Flat-Brain Theory" (8) Part Two: The use of the Talker-Listener Card (8)

Part Three: Basic Listening Techniques (8)
Part Four and Five: Extended Examples using the Talker-Listening Process (8) Flat-Brain Theory:
The Flat- Brain Theory (according to Dr. Peterson) takes into consideration the human body as contributing factors in the communication process: the stomach, the heart and the head. The stomach is attributed as the location of feelings. "Healthy heart functions give and receive concerns..." (12) The heart "put" everything together and the "options and possibilities". (12) And finally, the head functions as the source for rationalization of information. Talker-Listening Process:

The Talker-Listening Process establishes the roles in the communication process. The "talker" is attributed as the "owner of the problem" and the "listener" role is understand and allow the "talker" to share their feelings and thoughts. Additionally, Dr. Peterson provides "Talker-Listener Cards" (TLC) which outlines and reminds each other (talker and listener) of their responsibilities within the communication process. After the foundations of "Flat-Brain Theory" and the Talker- Listener Process is established and thoroughly explained, Dr. Peterson "shifts gears" into a more practical communication methods. Dr. Peterson provides insightful guides and suggestions for the reader to employ in their effective communication practices. The perspective reader evaluate and use the methods outline in his book to develop their own effective communication strategies and concepts regarding counseling others. You

After reading Dr. Peterson's work, I was amazed and drawn to his work. I was able to enjoy his work not just as an assignment for this course, but a useful tool for future study and a...
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