What Good Does Talking Do?
By Susan Lee Bady, LCSW, BCD
Obviously we are discussing a special kind of talking. The conversation that occurs
during a therapy session occurs at a special time and a special place; both set aside
to devote attention to a person's growth. Though it can be very difficult at times to
speak certain thoughts, it can often be a great relief to say them to another person.
You feel less alone with your feelings and ideas. A vague thought becomes more real
when spoken to a witness. A good thought becomes even better. A frightening idea
is easier to handle and less overwhelming. Couples often find it easier to say things
on their mind a long time when in the presence of a neutral third person who assures
safety, a sense of being heard and a sense of balance. Also, it is surprising how often
a person comes up with new ideas and possibilities never thought possible before
when speaking with a sympathetic person. Thus when a person can speak his
thoughts fully and clearly, he is making an important step towards change.
There is another valuable aspect to talking. Not only is talking important because of
ideas conveyed, but through the impact of making or listening to sound. Music
therapy has become an important way of helping people deal with emotions. A
recent article in Psychology Today reports the use of music to reduce migraine
headaches. If music has this impact, surely the sound of a friend, a parent or a
therapist's voice can also influence the listener.
Further the very fact of speaking affects the speaker. For one thing, we hear the
sound of our own voice when we talk. We know we have an important idea not only
because another person hears it, but if we hear it ourselves. And not only do we hear
ourselves speak, we feel ourselves speak in our throats, our rate of breathing, our
entire bodies because of the action of the vocal apparatus. This feeling is especially
powerful when a strong emotion is being expressed. Sometimes we can really feel
our words and our ideas with our entire bodies when we speak and when that
happens we know we are saying something really important. Think of that the next
time you have something to say.
Park Slope Shopper, June 3, 1987