Sound Therapies Heal, Inspire and Bring Focus

The founders of Wellness Possibilities, a unique network of caring health providers based in New Jersey, have asked me to edit their online newsletter. Each newsletter will feature various healing methods and stories. This first issue’s spotlight is sound therapies.

In the featured story, a mother tells of how the Tomatis Method and Berard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) transformed her son, whose autism had isolated him. After treatment at
The Davis Center in Mount Arlington, NJ, he began to reach out, connect, speak with her and others.

These methods work well for focus, even for those without a serious disorder. A friend’s son recently went through Tomatis Method training. He is bright and social, but was distracted in school and had difficulties with homework, particularly math.  He and his parents and teachers are excited about the changes in his level of focus and ability to stay with a concept and wrap his mind around it.

The methods also work for wonderfully not only for deepening concentration, but for learning languages and even unlocking creativity.

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By
Linda Eve Diamond, Author and Founder of www.ListenersUnite.com


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ILA Conference: Listen and Make the Connection

International Listening Association (ILA) Conference: LISTEN AND MAKE THE CONNECTION Frankfurt, Germany, July 18-22, 2007


Make connections with listeners worldwide at the International Listening Association’s next annual conference: Listen and Make the Connection in Frankfurt, Germany, July 18-22. 

What is ILA?

The International Listening Association is a professional organization whose members are dedicated to learning more about the impact that listening has on all human activity. The International Listening Association promotes the study, development, and teaching of listening and the practice of effective listening skills and techniques.

2007 Convention

The convention theme for 2007, Listen and make the connection!, is both broad in its implications and narrow enough to allow program submissions in a variety of areas and formats. The convention theme emphasizes the idea that listening research and practice is an interdisciplinary endeavor and that it is both necessary and stimulating for listening scholars to reach out to a variety of academic and practical fields. Among them may be communication, psychology, pedagogy, health care, audiology, speech research, rhetoric, linguistics, language teaching, acoustics, counseling, journalism, human resource development, and many more.

The convention provides a platform to learn from each other and to encourage innovative ways of research and listening practice.
 
The following are a few examples of the possible types of program content:

Listening Assessment: How do we know when people are effective listeners? How can we measure effective listening?

Listening Instruction and Development: How does listening affect learning? What strategies can we use to help students be better listeners? What should be included in the curriculum to enhance listening? How does listening develop across the life-span?

Listening in Multicultural Environments - Intercultural Communication: What is intercultural listening? What are some of the similarities and differences in listening among people of different countries and cultures? How can we teach people to be more effective listeners in international settings?

Listening to Clients and Customers: What is the role of listening in the workplace? How can I help my workers listen better to clients or customers?

Managerial Listening: What are the results of good/poor listening in the organization? How effective are managers who listen well?

Technology: How does technology affect listening? How can we use technology to enhance or impede listening? How can listening in mediated communication be improved?

Social Competence: What is listening competence? Can active, empathic listening improve communication in our relationships with others? Why is listening an important factor in improving our social competence?

Health:How can listening enhance communication in health/medical settings? How does listening benefit the healthcare practitioner? How does listening affect the health of the listener and of the speaker?

Environmental Health: What difference will it make if we listen to noise? How does sound pollution affect listening? How do music and sound affect the ear, brain, and nervous system? How can we learn to listen to and heed the earth/environment?

Listening Theory: What are the underlying mechanisms driving the listening process? Is listening synonymous with information processing? What are different perspectives we can use to inform the study of listening?

Spirituality and Religion: What is the relationship between listening and spirituality? Are the skills employed in spiritual listening different from those used in other listening contexts

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Visit the ILA’s main site at Listen.org or use this direct link to the 2007 conference site for conference and hotel information as well as useful travel and tourism information.


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New Poetry Book: The Human Experience

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The Human Experience by Linda Eve Diamond (ASJA 2007) is poetry for humans, especially those who wonder why we're here, bound to these bodies—and what are the other humans thinking? 
Inside you’ll find an artist rendering life in a small cube, a poem about you and me, a pleasant day in hell, old fashioned lovers in kodachrome colors, a gifted apostrophe, a contemplative clown, an ape man, a little thief and more characters who share this condition of ours—this brief, miraculous, frightening/ Enlightening human condition.
Many of the poems in this collection touch on the subject of listening.  “I, Unleashed,” is about listening to one’s self, “Slinky Talk” is a little story of a difficult conversation helped  along by a slinky, and “Projections” tells of a husband and wife who struggle to see and hear each other through layers of projections and perceptions.  Much of the Human Experience explores connection and solitude, listening, and every day consequences of listening, not listening or just plain missing the point—even when it comes to listening to ourselves.

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“You are not a human being having a spiritual experience.
You are a spiritual being having a human experience.”
Pierre Teilhard deChardin


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The Perfect Valentine's Gift

Nanette Johnson-Curiskus, a Minnesota State University Speech-Communication professor and recipient of the International Listening Association’s “Outstanding Listening Educator of the Year” Award, was interviewed for this article by Geoff Gorvin, gorvin@charter.net.  (Press release dated Feb. 8, 2007; contact: Michael Cooper, michaelcooper@mnsu.edu) Nan was kind enough to share her article with Listeners Unite. Thank you, Nan! Happy

For Valentine’s Day, Promise to be a Better Listener, Says Minnesota State Mankato’s Nationally Recognized Listening Expert

MANKATO, Minn.  – As you’re considering thoughtful gifts to give your loved one for Valentine’s Day, Professor Nanette Johnson-Curiskis offers this idea: Promise to be a better listener.

This gift can come from either partner, she says. Although men are typically more often accused of being the worse of the two sexes when it comes to listening, women can be just as guilty.

The problem is that men and women listen differently, says Johnson-Curiskis, a speech communication professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the International Listening Association’s 2005 Outstanding Listening Educator of the Year.

The biggest difference between the two genders is how men and women exhibit verbal and non-verbal communication while listening. Women, for example, use a lot of verbal and non-verbal communication, such as nodding their head, saying “uh-huh” and asking for details. Men, on the other hand, use very little verbal and non-verbal communication, which can give the impression that they’re not listening.

Another difference is that women are interested in details, while men are more concerned with “big-picture” information, which can make them appear that they are disinterested. For example, if a speaker was talking about visiting his or her mother in a distant city, a woman would want to know details of the visit: what the mother was wearing, what was for lunch, the activities they took part in, what the weather was like, etc. Men would simply want to know if the mother was OK and why the speaker visited her, which could appear that men weren’t listening when, in fact, they were simply disinterested in additional details.  

While men’s lack of verbal and non-verbal communication may make them look like they’re “spacing out” when they should be listening, women may communicate too much, which can be interpreted by male speakers as interruptive, Johnson-Curiskis says.

Johnson-Curiskis offers these tips for those who want to become better listeners:
  • Stop everything and listen. Stop watching TV. Stop cooking. Stop playing with the kids. Stop wrenching on the car. Stop everything and give the speaker your undivided attention.
  • Men should use some verbal and non-verbal communication, like nodding their head and uttering an occasional “uh-huh.” Women should cut down on their communication.
  • Be a responsible listener. Don’t think about your response when you should be listening. Concentrate on what the person is saying and the emotion behind the message. Demand that the speaker explains his or her thoughts clearly.
  • Be a responsible speaker. Speakers have a responsibility to communicate clearly and watch their listeners’ non-verbal communication. If listeners look confused, ask if they need a better explanation or additional information.
  • Be ready to listen. There’s a good time to listen and a bad time. If you’re about to leave for an important engagement or are in the middle of important and stressful work, that typically is not a good time to listen. Ask if the conversation can take place later.

The consequences of poor listening habits can be significant, especially for couples. It can lead to misunderstandings, mistrust, stress and tension in a relationship. 

Good listening habits have been the topic of Johnson-Curiskis’ “Effective Listening” course for about eight years at Minnesota State Mankato, which is one of only about 30 universities nationwide that offers such as course.

“It’s important to teach people how important listening is,” she said. “My course makes people aware of the different kinds of listening and the pitfalls of poor listening habits. Most of what I do is teach teachers how to be good listeners and how to pass that on to their students.”

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Listeners Unite!


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Upcoming Conference: Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education

The Theme:

“The central question becomes: Do current education efforts address the whole human being—mind, heart, and spirit—in ways that contribute best to our future on this fragile planet? What steps can we take to make our colleges and universities places that awaken the deepest potential in students, faculty, and staff?”

Sessions include:
• 
The Contemplative Transformation of Higher Education explores the use of contemplative methods to deepen experience, insight, and understanding.  “In this pre-conference workshop we will look at the contribution of contemplative practice to teaching, learning, research, and student life. Participants will also be introduced to practices from a variety of traditions that have been adapted successfully for secular classroom settings.”

Presenters: Mirabai Bush, Arthur Zajonc, Mary Rose O'Reilley, Bradford Grant, Center for Contemplative Mind
• 
“Dealing with Difference Constructively: Interfaith Dialogue and Action on the College Campus informs participants about The United REligions Initiative (a global interfaith community) and encourages dialogue and exploration of issues relating to religious differences on college campuses. “This workshop will engage heart, head and spirit to learn methods for bridging the chasms that divide students on college campuses, primarily across religious lines. Guests will receive resources, participate in models of dialogue and interfaith organizing, and deepen knowledge of significant differences among religious and spiritual traditions. They will share stories of barrier-crossing successes, experience appreciative listening, and create a vision for strengthening compassion and cooperation in the face of difference as a part of a liberal arts education.”

Presenters: Sally Mahe, Director of Organizational Development, United Religions Initiative (Workshop Moderator); Charles Gibbs, Executive Director, United Religions Initiative; Robert McDermott, Professor, Philosophy, California Institute of Integral Studies; Heng Sure, Monk, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery
Keynote Thursday, February 22, 2007 7-8:30 pm

The Precision of Poetry & the Passion of Science: An Education in Paradox Parker Palmer, Writer, Speaker, Activist

“Education today is filled with broken paradoxes, and with their lifeless results. We separate head from heart, resulting in minds that cannot feel and hearts that cannot think. We separate facts from feelings, resulting in bloodless data that render the world remote and untutored emotions that reduce truth to how one feels today. We separate theory from practice, resulting in theories that fail to inform our lives and actions that are driven by impulse rather than insight. We separate teaching from learning, resulting in teachers who speak but do not listen and students who listen but do not speak. The great challenge of integrative education is to “think the world together,” not apart, so that education can become the life-giving enterprise it was meant to be.”

For complete conference information, visit http://www.heartofeducation.org.

Listeners Do It with Heart Winking

By Linda Eve Diamond

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You may have seen the Chinese symbol for listening in texts and online. I find chinese characters interesting because they are both illustrative and instructive, containing symbols for words that tell the story behind a word. According to listening lore, the character for listening contains symbols representing ears, eyes, undivided attention, and heart
all the important elements to listening.

I was going to include this character reference in my upcoming listening book,
Rule #1 Stop Talking, but I hit a snag. The artist who designed the symbol for me said he didn’t believe in breaking down the elements of the character, even though the character originally formed by combining elements. Then he saw some of the typically labeled elements, but not others.

So, I wrote to a Dr. Aaron Lan, a Chinese language instructor at Florida State University, who said it is “linguistically inadequate and misleading to attempt to decompose a Chinese character to its smallest units.” Dr. Lan also explained that the part of the character often attributed to “undivided attention” is more an indication of how the word should be pronounced. He finds most of the meaning in the two “thematic components,” the ear and the character “de,” which signifies virtue and accomplishment. These two elements simply come together in some form of “obtain from ear.”

With that, I pulled the section from my book, but I still find the character interesting and thought you might like to know that the labeled characters we see may not always be entirely accurate. Still, I like that both of my experts still saw “
heart” within the symbol. I think it’s true that listeners do it with heart!

Happy listening!


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