New Class in Healthy Communication Begins
Today is day one in my healthy communication intensive class (Psyc 604) at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. This intensive is one of the hardest things I do each year – in part because of my ambition to put everything of value into the class that I possibly can, and in part because it requires me to be on my feet going for it for 4 hours a day, 5 days in a row. This intensive is also one of the most rewarding things I do each year, because I relish the chance to teach these future doctors as they begin their academic career at the school. The class is 20 hours of contact time, organized roughly as follows.
Day One: Narratives, Agreements, Observational Skill
Day Two: Listening To Go Deep, 9 Gates, Motivation
Day Three: Persuasive Communication
Day Four: Changing Habits in Yourself and Others
Day Five: Principles of Teamwork, Class Projects
I’ve made some very dear friends from previous classes, developed friendships that I trust will continue for many years. I’ve also had some difficult moments – including threats, misplaced rebellion, misunderstandings and projection – about which I have previously blogged.
I get it. The students are, after all, only human. Some come from privilege, some from seriously difficult backgrounds, and they are every one of them beginning an expensive and challenging program that will consume most of their time and energy for the next several years. When they graduate, they’ll be responsible for making potentially life and death decisions with their patients. It’s enough to give just about anyone a bit of the jitters.
But the program is a great one, I’ve designed the class to provide the best foundation I can for all that is to come, and my hope for this class is that they pull on me to give them every thing I’ve got, and don’t waste their time or mine on foolish resistance to the common courtesies I require for passing. I know that if they take me up on my challenge, and commit themselves to making the most of the time we have together, no excuses, the class will reverberate into their futures for a long time to come.
I’m posting this just before heading off to the school. I’ve had some really great classes over the past few years. I’m pulling for an even higher quality experience than I’ve had before. I’d like to experience the totality of a class taking responsibility for itself, where each student is eager to maximize their learning and minimize their drama, ready to do all the assignments and participate 100%. It may seem like a lot to ask, because they have a full day of classes each day, and many of these students find it easier to lose their focus than to hold themselves accountable. It’s a stretch, I know it’s hard, but I also know that this is earth, life is often hard, and the wise choise is to get it, get with it, and get on with it.
Wish me luck! And please do share your comments with me.
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.