Keys to successful communication begin with DEEP LISTENING

Communication is crucial to maintaining good mental health whether at home, in the workplace or with government leaders. Learn better ways to find solutions by learning first to listen at the ‘Deep Listening’ event at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Main Library.

In today’s social climate, civility too often goes out the window when differences of opinion arise. The inclination to think in terms of “us” versus “them” can lead to arguments, fractured families and broken friendships. After reading an article about “generous listening,” Charlene Markel thought the subject was something others in the Teche Area would be interested in knowing about. A little research, discussions with friends in the mental health profession and as a ready volunteer, Markel brought the idea to Catherine and Dean Wattigny for the Iberia Mental Health Initiative. The public is invited to learn “Deep Listening” at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Main Branch of the Iberia Parish Library, 445 E. Main St. The program is free and open to business owners, families and customer services professionals.

“According to the Center for Spirituality and Healing, ‘Deep listening is a process of listening to learn. It requires the temporary suspension of judgment, and a willingness to receive new information — whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral,’” Markel said in a prepared statement introducing the speaker.

Diane Kirksey, originally from New Iberia and now a resident of Lafayette, will lead the training session. An educator, speaker and trainer with more than 20 years of experience in designing and facilitating programs throughout the U.S. in nonviolence, leadership and conflict management. Kirksey earned a Masters in Leadership Development at the University of Texas, Dallas. She went on to earn an Interdisciplinary Masters in Collaboration and decided to dedicate herself to spreading and teaching compassion and collaboration.

In 2015 Kirksey founded Compassionate Communication of Lafayette, where she teaches nonviolent communication, self awareness and other offerings related to the cultivation of compassion. Markel said Kirksey has been a consultant for corporations, training sessions for customer service employees and faith groups looking for better communication skills.

“People are finding it harder and harder to listen to one another when they disagree,” said the prepared statement. “Friendships and families are fracturing because people are not willing to hear one another. Come learn how to be a deep listener and open up your conversation to everyone. Take the opportunity to begin 2020 with new communication skills.”

Catherine Wattigny said the beginning of 2020 is a great time to renew efforts to promote good mental health for our community.

The Jan. 22 training is the second of two upcoming events planned by the IMHI. The first quarterly meeting of the Iberia Mental Health Initiative Inc. will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 103 E. Main St. in New Iberia. Past advisors are encouraged to attend as well as others interested in collaborating for better mental health. Involvement in the promotion of good mental health is valuable toward building a strong community. for more information contact 944-4171.

Book Study

Beginning at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 the Compassionate Communication group will meeting at 1119 Johnston St. to read and discuss a chapter per week from “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life,” by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD. Suggested donation of $1 helps sustain the group but free downloads are available for the book. Some chapters will require more than one week to discuss but people interested can learn about the ongoing discussions and projects at Meetup.com, search for the Compassionate Communication of Lafayette, LA group. The public group boasts 440 members at this time. For more information visit them on Facebook.

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