Responding to Content

We respond first to the most obvious part of the helpees’ expressions—the content. We respond to content in order to clarify the critical ingredients of the helpees’ experiences. Having an accurate content data base enables us to establish our responsive base in helping: responding to feeling and meaning. In turn, this responsive base will enable us to personalize understanding and initiate acting.

The ingredients of content emphasize the basic interrogatives, which may be summarized as 5WH: who, what, why, when, where, and how.

A good response rephrases the helpees’ expressions in a fresh way. It does not simply “parrot” back the helpees’ own words. A good format for responding to content is

“You’re saying ________.”

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