Join us as we really plunge into the topic of Empathy! Guest Jonathan B. Singer joins us sharing his expertise in social work and how empathy is best utilized in the field. We also dive into the types of empathy, when to use, or NOT use empathy and even share some tips at the end!
In this podcast we discuss:
- Social Work
- When to use or not use empathy
- Types of empathy
About our guest Jonathan: Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW is associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago, founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast, past-president of the American Association of Suicidology and coauthor of the 2015 Routledge text, Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.
Want a transcript? Read below!
Tami Calais: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the communication solution podcast. Here at IFIOC we love to talk communication. We love to talk Motivational Interviewing, and we love talking about improving outcomes for individuals, organizations, and the communities that they serve. Today, we’ve got Casey Jackson on the line.
John Gilbert and I’m Tammy. Welcome to the conversation.
John Gilbert: All right. Hello everyone. Welcome back to another podcast with the IFIOC team and we have a very special guest today. Jonathan B singer that through a participant suggestion. Tammy reached out to, and Jonathan graciously agreed to do this, who has an amazing podcast, highly suggests listening to it.
Lots of incredible information that I hope to dive into and ask about today. And so, Jonathan you are an LCSW so, Casey as well, so licensed in social work. And [00:01:00] you’re an associate professor of social work at Loyola university Chicago. So that’s pretty, pretty big as far as I understand, pretty high up, founder and host of the award-winning social work podcast.
So if you’re looking to hear some. Something about social work, social work podcast. Look that up straightforward. And it’s a great podcast. You’re the past president of the American association of suicide-ology and co-author of the 2015 rutlidge text, which you can expand on that. Someone like me doesn’t know what that is.
And your, Dealing with suicide in schools, a practitioner’s guide to multilevel prevention. So I’m sure that’s had a big impact in the world. Assessment, intervention, and postvention. So you’ve done a lot in the social work field and we’re just really happy to have you. So thank you so much for agreeing to do this and just add your, your thought on empathy today as the main focus of what you’ve learned and all the people you’ve interviewed.
That’s the focus as I understand it for today, but before we dive in. Tammy. Casey, do you everything to [00:02:00] add before we ask Jonathan and get going?
Casey Jackson: I just want, I just wanna hear Jonathan respond to that intro. (laughing) that, that for me, I’m just waiting to hear…
Jonathan B. Singer: Thanks for that intro! . You know, the thing about all of those things is that, you know, I, I started out you know, after my MSW program, like everybody, I was looking for a job and like lots of folks, I found a job in community mental health and on the crisis unit.
And I started doing outpatient mobile crisis response with suicide kids. And I quickly realized that doing suicide risk assessment was, fully consistent with everything I learned in social work. Right. And speaking of empathy, right? You have these kids and their families that are going through really, really intense times.
And one of the most powerful things that you can do when you’re working with somebody that’s in that kind of crisis, is to let them know that you get where they are, right. That you, [00:03:00] want to hear their story and that when they tell you their story, you don’t say something Insulting like, oh yeah, man, I’ve been there too.
Right. Which is sort of the opposite of empathy. Right. And so after, after doing that for several years and then starting to teach as an adjunct at UT Austin, again, addressing some of these basic therapeutic skills like empathy I went back to get a PhD. It was just kind of a natural next step.
And then focused on suicide, wrote the book, suicide in schools because my co-author reached out one day and she was like, Hey, is there any, is there a handbook? Is there like a practical guide for practitioners, for folks in schools and folks that work in schools that they could just like pull off a shelf when there’s a suicidal kid in their office and they’re talking to an administrator or parent?
I was like, “no”. And she was like, well, Let’s write it, I was like, oh yeah, let’s, let’s do that. Right. And it’s really interesting because you know, when you, [00:04:00] when you, when you’re talking with teachers and when you’re talking with school staff, There’s a way in which you hang out with these students day in and day out.
And it becomes more like a, a, like a family relationship than it does when you’re just seeing somebody one hour a week. In an office. Right. You can sort of put on the therapist hat, but when a kid’s screaming down the hall and you’re like, “Hey, remember, don’t do that”. And then you see them 10 minutes later in your office, there’s this different sense of like, what is empathy?
Because you actually literally do know what they’ve been seeing. With that idea of empathy, of like being able to see things through somebody else’s eyes, like you literally have been doing that. And so for school folks too much empathy can be problematic because then it’s like, oh, you’re trying to therapize me.
Right. Oh, you’re trying to do that thing. And so it’s, it’s the, the, the, the challenge and the skill of using empathy well, is to know when to use it. [00:05:00] And when to not use it. Hmm. Right. And I’m talking about kids, but you can, you can talk about an adult who’s distrusting, or maybe experiencing some paranoia.
And if you use an incredibly empathetic comment, right. And you’re like, okay, this is where you are. They’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa. You don’t know me. like, why, why are you all up inside my head? Right. And so understanding when and how to use empathy is is part of using it well, like using it correctly. And so then we wrote the book and then
I had been involved with the American association of suicidology for years. And then I ran for the secretary position and then was elected and then got elected as president. And then I stopped that this past August. So, so that’s how all that happened.
Tami Calais: Wow.
Casey Jackson: You know, one of the things I want to kinda revisit you just talked about it.
It’s interesting. When we talk about this and train on this and it’s, this is perfect timing for me, cause I’m just on the heels of [00:06:00] doing a training for the SBIRT for middle schools in king county and Seattle. So the, all the counselors are dealing with the SBIRT screens and just all the things we’re trying to manage and how do we use Motivational Interviewing in line with that?
And so it’s just a great week of training. So I mean, my brain is so oriented to exactly what you’re talking. It’s been my whole week, this week, with these counselors. And what’s so interesting when you’re talking about empathy from that perspective, because they were talking about the same thing, especially in the middle of pandemic.
What they’re talking about is when we do have so many different relationships with these students and in pandemic, how do we get into deeper empathy? When, what I see is kind of this tussle of hair and a mask and eyes, and I don’t, I don’t recognize the, the kids the way I did pre pandemic now that we’re in person.
So it’s just like, literally, how, how does it imprint on my brain? What we’ve taught, talked about. When it is hard to differentiate some of these kiddos with just tussles of hair and, and masks and eyes, and running up and down the halls. And so that part of it, and the other thing that you were talking about that really [00:07:00] I want to dig further into is what we’ve tried to differentiate between more when we’re training, motivational interviewing is a difference between empathy and reflective listening.
I think people get annoyed with reflective listening, and that’s when they feel like they’re being therapiesed and then there’s this flip side that people genuinely want to feel heard and understood. And sometimes people don’t differ. I think professionals don’t differentiate between reflective listening and what high empathy is.
I mean, it’s a vehicle to express accurate empathy, but there is a differentiation that we really try to tease out. So I’m just curious what your thoughts are on that as walking through.
Jonathan B. Singer: Yeah, no, I, I totally agree. And, and, and this is where, you know, empathy, I think is one of the most complicated concepts in, in counseling, right.
In therapy. Because. it’s one thing to be listening to a kid. Who’s like, “dude, I hate this. I hate the masks. I hate all this. I, you know, I don’t wanna be here”, you know, and you can be like, “you’re really angry”. And it’s like, of course I’m angry. Right, right. But then there’s this whole [00:08:00] thing about like, what is it that they’re not wanting to feel?
Yes. Right. What is it that they’re not wanting to experience? What is it that they’re not wanting to do? Right. And, and empathy also includes acknowledging the things that. Our clients that people don’t want to experience. Right? Yeah. Cause that is part of their experience. And that’s an incredibly complicated thing and I love that you, that you put up said that reflective listening is not the same as empathy.
Cuz it’s totally true. And and so when I’m, you know, when I training students. Getting them to understand different levels of reflection. Yes. Is important. Yes. And also not to have it be mechanical. Yes. Right. Because then you can’t actually convey empathy if you are being inauthentic yes.
Right. If you were saying I’m now going to do a complex reflection yes. Blah, blah, blah. . Yes. Even if you, even if you capture the correct. Emotion, right? Yes. You, you did that. It, it [00:09:00] was done in a way that that seemed mechanical. And, and, and it misses the point of being, you know, empathic or empathetic.
Casey Jackson: Yeah. And I, like you said, I think that anyone, but I think especially youth are so hypersensitive to inauthenticity mm-hmm that if it feels like they’re being therapized or that they’re being counseled. In this kind of modulated kind of, I care about you empathy. Here’s what you’re saying. That will miss the mark pretty quickly with, especially youth that are fairly jaded, that just does not fly it just doesn’t work well.
Yeah. and then we end up stigmatizing the population by saying, yeah, this kid’s just really difficult to engage with. And it’s like, well, is the kid difficult to engage with or our skills, not where they need to be with this complex of a client? Mm-hmm yes. Right. Mm-hmm yeah.
John Gilbert: What what’s really fascinating about this is recently in coachings there’s there.
And in trainings there’s been some situations, particularly with this group that Casey, the D C Y F group for, for training. Where they [00:10:00] go out and talk with parents with child protective services. And it’s a very, very complex, very difficult. And the people are in a lot of difficult situations.
So some people don’t want to be gotten at times and they’re like, no, No. And so there is a certain depth of skill and, and authenticity. And how do you bring those worlds together? And I know Terry Moyers in her new book, effective psychotherapy starts speaking to some of the genuineness and authenticity and how difficult that is to measure.
I have a belief that that’s gonna be a big future from like conversations like this,, of, of what research is gonna show, but I wanna pose it to both. You and Casey, Jonathan and Casey of. Where is like this place of what you were alluding to before Jonathan, like we’re not to use it or Casey. I know you’re, you’re at a level, in my opinion, that I bow to, with being able to go so deep into giving accurate depiction of people’s reality.
That’s so unsaid that it’s [00:11:00] like, you’re like reading minds, like it’s incredible. Right. But like at a certain point, What about people that either not just are just learning it, but that someone like myself, I don’t even know if I can go as deep as Casey a and then I can try, but then there’s also this place of when not to use empathy.
So doing it authentically genuinely, how deep can you go? Like your own abilities and then when do you not use it? Right. And I think just your thoughts on, on that, I’d be really curious about. Either of you.
Casey Jackson: I I’m deferred to Jonathan I’m, I’m just ready for this lecture. This, this is what I signed up for.
Jonathan B. Singer: So so well, so I think there there are a couple of things in, in what you said that are really important.
One of them is this idea that, you know, maybe sometimes somebody doesn’t want you to know them. Right. And there are times where. It’s not your job, right? Your, your job isn’t to [00:12:00] like, get in deep with them. You don’t know what is in there. Right. To, to, to assume that getting deep in there you know, before the 55 minute hour is up, is appropriate is also not appropriate.
Right. And so and I think that can be for lots of reasons. You know, I like you know, the, there, there are lots of folks, right? The summers Flanigan, the shun, like a bunch of folks who have written about I mean, Miller & Rollnick of course, but folks who have written about this therapeutic process have acknowledged that doing the right thing at the right time in the process is part of being a professional.
Right? And so when I’m doing an intake interview, I wanna do just enough. To let the person know that I’m hearing them. And then if there’s something that seems to be particularly germane, I might use, you know, a statement that is reflective, but also is empathic. Like I I’m, I’m getting your internal world right.
Just enough. So that they’ll keep going. Now. That’s very different than when we’re like, you know, like six months into therapy and somebody walks in [00:13:00] and they throw their bag on the, on the chair and they sit down. And I can get into it. I can be like, “this is a shit situation for you. Huh? I don’t know what it is, but it’s shitty.”
They’re like, yeah. You know, and you just go in there. Right. You just go in immediately. So, so that being said, I think that understanding that true empathy or, or being able to use you know, empathic process leads to the possibility of self exploration and healing, you have to make sure that somebody’s willing and able to do that first.
Cause if they’re like, dude, I don’t want to change. Cause see if I change then what does that mean for my family? Yeah. What does it mean for my peers? What if they start reject the person that I’m becoming. Right. And you’re like, oh, I didn’t, I, sorry, I didn’t realize that. It’s like, yeah. So don’t do that.
Right. There’s lots of reasons why people are the way they [00:14:00] are. And empathy is one of these incredibly powerful tools that can help people down a, a path of change. But. Sometimes change isn’t, isn’t, isn’t really what we’re there to help them do.
Casey Jackson: I appreciate that so much because I, I automatically, when you were talking, I was thinking about, you know, Miller and Moyers when they wrote about the eight stages of learning motivational ring and the eighth stages, knowing when not to use it.
Yeah, that’s right. You know, because it’s, because it, it becomes when I teach on motivational Interviewing, what I explain is that there’s so many tools in our tool belt. My favorite one is, am I, because it’s my Swiss army knife, but I can’t build an entire house with a Swiss army knife, but it’s never gonna lead my side.
That’s the, the analogy that I use with it, because it is so phenomenal for a method of communication. But I cannot build an entire house with that Swiss army knife. But I use it so many more than anything else throughout the day. The other thing that I was thinking about as well as you were talking about that, when we think of that type [00:15:00] of accurate empathy. What you just wrapped up with in terms of not every conversation is a behavior change based conversation either. When I go into John, what you were asking about as well too with The depth of empathy. I am, I’m kind of in this classification, I found for myself that I’m obsessed neophyte with brain science.
I just am so obsessed with brain science. And the more I study about mirror neurons, John, this is where it’s, I, I just can’t get enough of trying to understand that more thoroughly, because I think that is the, a root of deep, accurate empathy, where there’s research that shows our brains, have the capacity to continue other people’s sentences accurately if we have no secondary agenda, if we have lit up our mirror neurons and we are so locked in another reality, that’s not our own. Our brain has the capacity. To absorb and almost through this, you know, symbiotic action [00:16:00] that we can start to continue this person’s thought and get a sense of how they feel on a deeper level.
I, the, I mean, just going on this side of it is I just think that we are so such incredibly self-centered creatures. It makes it a little bit more difficult to do that. There’s part of the complexity by nature, not in a bad way. We’re just constructed to be more self-centered. We also have that construct in our brain chemistry.
We have the capacity to be highly empathetic and sympathetic and all sorts of other things and compassionate. As we kind of strike those out of what’s the differences and what’s the functionality, but that’s what I think of as well too, is how much do we exercise any part of our body? It’s gonna get stronger.
My obsession was wanting to understand how other people think and feel. That’s why I wanted to be a therapist, is my obsession with how do other people think and feel, and, and can I do some repetitive connections in their own process? Mentally emotionally or spiritually, that kinda gets their brains to go, is my behavior lining up with who I want to be.
And, and I think it’s that obsession with it that strengthens that skillset. It’s where you develop a muscle memory. So I think that’s partly, I know from [00:17:00] my learning experience and more, I, I try to study on the, on how the brain science of all this works. That’s where my fascination lies. And I think that’s why it is it’s doable, but it’s just like anything else I could.
Even at my age, I potentially could get like eight pack abs, but I don’t know if I wanna do that kind of work, honestly. and I like wine too much. So, I mean, there’s just certain things that like, oh, there are some preventative things there too, but if I really wanted eight pack, abs I probably could get it, but do I want it that bad?
Mm-hmm and I think it’s the same thing with that depth and comprehensive approach to empathy. I think there is a focus to it. That is that’s why it’s light ears beyond reflective listening. We’re talking that depth of, of empathy.
John Gilbert: Well, and, and I’ll just throw in and then throw out some other thoughts for, for possible exploration.
And Jonathan, feel free to jump in with whatever. Cause you’re, you’re the guest here for just exploring this concept of like depth. You’re basically saying everyone has the ability. It’s how much work do you want to put in for the mirror neuron possibly natural ability [00:18:00] to go there. Right. And then there’s the confirmation bias of me just having a coaching right before this and having all this like, yes.
Right. Exactly. Like helpful feedback. I’m not trying to like toot my horn, but thanks to you, Casey. I’ve been able to develop it over time, but there’s a certain level of like, How much are you really checking in with feedback? And so I’m curious about learning empathy and talking about that. Obviously, you know, we, co-developed a tool with the MICA (Motivational Interviewing Competency Assessment) and stuff, but I’m curious, especially for you, Jonathan, with your experience and all the people you’ve talked with with feedback informed treatment and all this other stuff, just learning empathy and how others can really do that..
And what about those situations too, and where, you know, you’re being empathic, but you’re not. Necessarily expressing empathy, you might be expressing a joke or something strange like that to, to help understand that right now, a reflection is not helpful. Or something like that. I’m wondering empathy that isn’t expressed through a reflection, [00:19:00] if that’s even a thing or how you could express empathy.
If it’s not a reflection, I’d like to believe that I’ve figured out ways to do it with my confirmation bias, but I don’t know. And I’m really wanting to learn more we in that area. So Jonathan, we’ll start with you with your thoughts and sure. Casey he could riff too.
Jonathan B. Singer: You know, in terms of training, in terms of sort of helping students move into being able to use this professionally right.
Given all that we’ve just talked about, which I think is spot on. You know, there’s, there’s the piece of acknowledging that lots of folks. As Casey mentioned, who, who got into this field already have the desire to understand the other person’s worldview, right? That’s, that’s kind of a foundational thing.
There’s also the other piece, which typically folks in counseling programs, MSW, LMFT whatever it is they’re the people, their friends went to. With problems, right. When something was up, like they would go to you. So you already have years and years of experience listening to what’s going on with somebody.
I think to [00:20:00] your question about, you know, how do you demonstrate empathy without using reflection? Part of it is again being so in the moment. That it’s, it’s the nod. It’s the, the verbal following. It’s the mm. Right. To let somebody know I’m with you. And I get that so that when they say something like something that, that, that seems so minor, like if you were just reading a transcript of a conversation, right.
Wouldn’t necessarily pop up, but because you’re listening to it because you’re hearing a change of inflection, tone of voice, something in the face, maybe they you know, cross the other leg, whatever it is, you’re picking it up and you are responding to that, right? That is empathy, right. That is saying I’m with you where you are I’m with you on this journey.
So you have to be able to understand your client’s frame of reference for things and some of the tools for that. That I [00:21:00] teach students about are understanding the client’s metaphors that they use. Right. Are, are they using mechanical metaphors? Right? Like this problem is being described as like a long haul.
Right. And there might be some pit stops along the way. You know, they feel like they’re being held up in traffic. Right. Sort of like a trucker you, you know, metaphor. Are they describing it as a dance? Right. Do they, do they feel like they’re always sort of, you know, a. Getting tripped up with their partner.
Are they doing it like whatever the, the, the metaphors are, you know, starting to think about those, starting to use those in your conversation as a way of acknowledging, okay. I’m hearing where you’re coming from. And, and, and, and as you’re building that up, Practicing right. Because you’re not always gonna get it because we, we have our own worlds.
Right. We’ve constructed our own view of the world and, and your client doesn’t have the same view of the world as you do, but trying it out and seeing where things fit to be like, oh, so they just mentioned this interaction with [00:22:00] their grandma. And when I was like, oh, oh, Their whole affect changed. Right.
They just sort of opened up. It’s like, yes. Okay. I thought this was important. And now I know that it’s important. Right. Something shifted and, and that wasn’t me saying, wow. It sounds like your grandmother was really important to you or something like that. Right. It was empathy non-verbally or minimally, verbally.
Right. Just sort of verbal following. And so I do think all of those things are important. Again, this is why I said like empathy is one of the most complicated things that we have. It’s one of the most necessary. Things, but it’s also one of the most complicated things, because it can be conveyed in multiple ways.
And some of the most powerful ways that you can demonstrate empathy is by recognizing and acknowledging things that your client might not even be aware of or at least minimally aware of. Right. I, I, I don’t wanna get into the whole, like they’re unconscious and we’re doing psychoanalysis thing, but, but that [00:23:00] somebody is unaware of.
I was in, and I was talking with my therapist about something and and she was like She was like, this is a, this is a scary thing for you to talk about. I was like well, I don’t know. She’s like, I mean, it might not be, but I just, you, you crossed your arms really tightly around your chest.
Right. So that’s sort of like, she’s reflecting, she’s noticing, but also she’s picking up on something. Right. And then from there I was like, oh wait, you’re getting something. That I’m minimally aware of and it, it totally opened up our conversation.
Casey Jackson: It’s interesting when you say that, Jonathan, because what I’ve been exploring lately, cause I’ve been so really immersed in the MI and trauma, you know, informed side and looking at that so much.
It it’s interesting, John, when you brought up this question, because what I’ve been looking at beyond reflective listening is actually outside of the therapeutic realm and I’ve really been looking at codependency. And when somebody that you are codependent with [00:24:00] and have emotional attachment to whether it’s healthier, unhealthy attachment comes home drunk and abusive, and they almost learn to read their mind and, and bring them another drink or take off their shoes.
That’s not a sympathetic response. That’s an empathetic response to manage a regulate emotion as well too. That’s not reflective listening. That is becoming so in sync with another person that you are responding to, how they feel inside better than they know. So it, it, it’s almost this ironic 180 degree riff off of what Jonathan just brought up that it’s like, how do you perceive these things that are unspoken?
And it doesn’t mean that it’s even a spoken word that expresses empathy. That, that the person feels heard and understood. Even if the person isn’t doing reflective listening, if that partner is not doing reflective listening by kind of being accommodating for what they can feel, and it’s causing a change inside the person where they’re calming down and feeling heard and understood. That extreme [00:25:00] codependency, but that’s expressions of empathy is as well.
And just, I’ve just been looking at these things in terms of nonverbals and it, I mean, there’s all these thoughts I have around that. That’s a whole separate conversation, but I, it’s such a good question, John, about, you know, can we do, you know, accurate empathy beyond reflective listening and validation and, and yeah, I love what you’re talking about, Jonathan too, about the non-spoken and, and it is this, this syncing up kind of perspective that becomes less self centered and more other centered, which is the basic definition of empathy.
John Gilbert: Well, and to that too, I’ve been just, you know, over the years, Casey, I would just from, from what I’ve gotten feedback on over the years, coming from a highly egocentric view and trying to be more empathic in my life more generally, there seems like there’s this levity that can be brought with really high to me that goes beyond empathy.
It goes into emotional intelligence and go diving deep into that deals with righting reflex and equipoise and managing emotion. And it include empathy and all the nuances [00:26:00] we’re talking about here, but it’s like, there’s, there’s something about levity and bringing a joke in or something like that. That there’s a place for this, like seemingly like depth of impact mixed with that in other areas in other contexts.
And I know I’m speaking more vaguely here, but there’s just such an expression of having the awareness and what I picked up from what you’re both talking about is it’s a sensing and there’s, there’s three different kinds. If we wanna do the, the breakdown of what empathy is, but I don’t want to get into like, defining there’s just this sense of mirror neurons, like you’re talking about Casey that’s I’m. So in this person’s reality, I’m sensing this and it doesn’t have to be a reflection. It could be an action. It could be a nod or a Hmm. Or a, but you’re so present. It’s almost like it’s, it’s bringing in presentness and mindfulness, which is a whole other can and of worms into just being present and being experimenting like Jonathan was maybe [00:27:00] you know, getting at, I don’t know, experimenting with throwing that sensation back out there. Regardless of how that’s done. And it seems like that’s the essence that I’m gathering of that. And that can happen in a lot of different ways. So to make that happen and Tammy feel free to let me know if we’re, we’re going too long.
I do. I am curious about the fidelity side that we like to talk about of teaching it since that was another part of the, the question that was way too long earlier is what are your thoughts about taking what we’re talking about now? And operationalizing it or helping people embody this. And obviously, you know, we’re biased to the MICA (Motivational Interviewing Competency Assessment) feedback through practice with feedback, but I’m wondering, particularly for you, Jonathan, beyond submitting tapes or, or live coaching that we are used to with, with the MICA or other things just that or other things you’ve found to be helpful embodying what’re we are talking about here and Casey, of course, your thoughts too.
Jonathan B. Singer: I mean, I think that, you know, folks are in all sorts of different training [00:28:00] settings. What I tell my students is, and this goes back to something Casey was saying earlier about you know, building that muscle, right. Building the skills. Right. So, so practicing things that are. More likely to result in the person feeling like you understand where, where they’re coming from.
Right. So you can practice that. You can, you can do that in role plays. You can do that, you know with anybody but really the best feedback’s gonna come from the clients. It’s it’s because you’re gonna, you’re gonna know that you’ve hit the mark or missed the mark based on the next thing that happens.
You know, it’s Coltrain John Coltrain, the saxophone is just famous for like playing these, you know, three, four hour long gigs you know, might be a Birdland and then going, and then afterwards, per practicing scales and, and stuff like that. And and what he said was, you know, the minute I step onto the bandstand, I forget about all the theory. I forget about all the scales. I forget about all of that. But it’s because [00:29:00] I’ve practiced it so much that when I get onto the bandstand that’s where I can be a hundred percent in the music. And that’s you, you know, as Casey said, like you can’t, you can’t Use empathy, you can’t be empathetic if you’re not in the moment. Right. If you’re not with the person and so practice it, get feedback, you know somebody can be like, Hey, you were right there with me. But like that joke was kind of off, you know, or like, Hey, wow. So that joke was amazing. Right. So it’s just, feedback and, and getting that practice.
And this is another reason why I tell students that you know, these role plays are gonna feel really awkward and you’re gonna feel really incompetent in the beginning. And at some point something’s gonna click and you’re like, wow, why didn’t I get this before? Mm-hmm right. So. I dunno long answer, but that that’s, that, that’s what I would have to say in terms of training.
Casey Jackson: Jonathan it’s, it’s so fun because it, the concepts of the concepts and they just, just the way they translate, you know, regardless of your training, your background, or, you know, what education [00:30:00] you had or what agencies you worked in, it just translates so well, because it’s the same thing that I talked to, you know, of people that I train is that we do these.
Reflections practice. We do the role plays, and I can say that was amazing. And then I follow up with, and I have no idea how that’s gonna land on your clients ear though. So it sounds amazing to me. I know how I’d respond to that. You could have five clients that are just moved by that and five clients that are pissed now.
It, you, you will not know, and the best teacher is your client. You need, they ones that are gonna get you better and better at this skill. And the thing you about practice. One of things that. Always because people say, how do I get better at Motivational Interviewing? How do I practice this? How do I practice? And I said, it’s ironically in not particularly complex ways.
I said, one of my favorite things to do is to ask a checker. What it’s like to work on their feet all day. And then I only allow myself reflective listening from that point forward. So I have to go inside their reality and I’m not their therapist. I’m not anything other than a customer, but those are ways you can sharpen your skills to step in realities that aren’t yours, that, that aren’t even [00:31:00] therapeutic.
It may be therapeutic for the check or two extent that to me, listen to them. But other than that, it’s just more of a skillset of building muscle memory.
John Gilbert: Mm-hmm . Oh, my gosh. There’s so much more that I want to ask you about. It was like, this is just incredible. Just the energy. I just gotta give voice to.
Like, I just really think there’s a, there’s a feel and a vibe from the mix of, especially, you know you know, Tammy nonverbally. You’re not seeing Tammy. She’s totally with us too with the smiles and the energy happening. And then Jonathan and Casey, it’s like two peas in a pod of just, really developing your emotional intelligence, your empathy, all these things, and learning all these things along the way and bring them together for this artful mix of how to be with other people and why to be with other people.
And there’s just so much there that I would love to dig deeper into and so many levels, but for the sake of our time that we have today and Jonathan being so gracious to gift us, which is time and energy. Thank you so much. Wanna give voice to you and thank you so much [00:32:00] as well as give you just if people are interested, cuz you have a lot of other interesting interviews with people that have written various books on variety of topics.
That’d highly suggest checking out the social work podcast, but just to have you say, well, where can people find you if they want to reach out or check out your stuff? And anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t addressed or haven’t asked you.
Jonathan B. Singer: Yeah, absolutely. And, and I wanna say thank you for this great conversation.
This was really so much fun. It, it’s always nice to talk to other folks about this kind of thing, which we don’t really get. I don’t get a chance to talk much about I do it, or I teach it, but to talk about this has been great. So thank you. Great. So folks can find the podcast at social work podcast.com.
I’m on Twitter at SOC w R K. Podcast Facebook I’ve got a social work podcast page. People can reach me via email Jonathan.B.firstname.lastname@example.org, gmail.com. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, you know, and it’s not a pandemic, like, you know, hit me up, you know, we’ll get together. Sounds good.
[00:33:00] And otherwise you know, just if you. If you look online for like, you know, Google my name and suicide prevention, like I speak at lots of conferences and things like that. And oftentimes these days they’re online and they’re free because they’re being sponsored by like the state suicide prevention organization.
So that’s another place to hear me, not necessarily to like, engage with me, but those are, those are some ways. Thanks Jonathan for that. Mm-hmm mm-hmm I love it.
Tami Calais: I know that’s a, that’s a whole nother topic, but I feel like we could do a whole nother podcast on oh, easily. I think that would be really fascinating also.
John Gilbert: Mm-hmm yeah. Mm-hmm well, and then I just wanna throw in too, if anyone that knew Jonathan is now discovering us. Casey or Tammy, where can they I just wanna throw that out just because there’s so many great podcasts that Jonathan does, maybe someone that listens to him is gonna listen to us. So where can they find us where would you point them, Tammy?
Well, they can always reach out to us at email@example.com. [00:34:00] Otherwise our website is IFIOC.com. We have all kinds of resources available and. More podcasts to listen to, and we cover a variety of topics, all relating to communication and effective communication strategies and motivational interviewing.
So you can find us on, on apple podcast, the communication solution. Wonderful. Thanks everyone. It’s been a great day. Yes. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Casey and Tammy too. All right, bye. Thank you for listening to the communication solution podcast. As always, this podcast is all about you.
So if you have questions, thoughts, topic, suggestions, ideas, please send them our way. At firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com. For more resources, feel free to check out IFIOC.com. We also have a public Facebook group called motivational interviewing every day. We have an amazing blog and we have lots of communication [00:35:00] tips on our website.
In addition to all these amazing resources we do offer online public courses on our website on motivational interviewing and effective communication strategies. And if you’re self proclaimed MI geek, make sure to join us for one of our live events online with our MI plus community. We offer a mini MI training as well as a question and answer and discussion opportunity live webcast with Casey. Thanks for listening.