From Hurt to Healed Part V


The simple communication process starts with a message that a person wants to communicate.  When the individual sends the message, whether it is in verbal, written or non-verbal form; it first passes through the individual person’s in-coder. The in-coder is made up of their perceptions, beliefs, history and mood for that day.  It goes through the in-coder and in that in-coder there is a certain amount of noise or distortion that will occur in the message.  Although a person may think that he is communicating clearly, what is being received by the hearer may not be so clear.

The person receiving the message then must decode the meaning. They de-code as their perceptual grid attempts to determine what was meant by the sender.  Further difficulty is encountered if the message comes from more than one type of communication.  For example, if someone were to say, “I really love you,” with their fists clenched and the veins in their neck popping out, there are two distinctly different messages being sent. It therefore becomes paramount for the individual to find out what meaning was really behind the message being sent.  The message must be “decoded” so full understanding can occur.  Because of man’s imperfection and the fact he does not have “all understanding,” certain portions of the message and interpretation will be missed.  Noises and disturbances in the receiver’s decoder may interfere with clear understanding.

Asking for feedback is vitally important.  Feedback is nothing more than asking whether or not the message was received correctly.  Feedback may come in the form of a statement such as, “What I hear you saying is”, or “I think what you meant was this.  Did I hear you correctly?” Feedback is one way of making sure of clarity of information.  Going through the process of feedback is not necessary in every type of communication or the communication process would be incredibly laborious.  However, when first meeting a client or during the first few sessions of caregiving, the feedback technique might be used rather frequently until the caregiver feels  he knows the client well enough to be sure that they are hearing the client correctly.


It is an accepted fact that people have trouble communicating with one another.  Probably the foremost reason for the lack of good communication is that everyone has certain prejudices.  Each person views the world from a different perspective.  Secondly, each individual, even though they many share the same prejudice, might have a slightly different bias in relationship to that prejudice.  Thirdly, and most important in the caregiving process, is the history of the individual client.  That is, many are filled with anger, fears or anxiety, or perhaps have been victimized at one time or another in their past.  This has tainted their perception of themselves, their perception of others, male, female relationships, etc.  These perceptions of self or self-concept are developed over time and are not easily overcome, which is why the communication process in caregiving is so vitally important.  The skilled Christian must learn to communicate effectively and clearly, and as mentioned before, the first stage is to become an excellent listener.



1.One must always be aware of any discrepancies between verbal and non-verbal communication.  Note taking and careful listening are imperative.

2. Communication needs to be two way and open ended. Open ended can be illustrated by the following questions:

“Do you like spaghetti?”  (Closed ended can be answered with either yes or no.)

“What is your favorite kind of food?”  (Open ended cannot be answered with yes or no.)

3. Respect the uniqueness of others.

4. Be open to the Holy Spirit.  He is the guide.

5. Learn to listen with what has been called the third ear.

6. Set aside preconceived beliefs about the client and about caregiving.

7. Avoid preconceived notions about the way people are supposed to talk.  Occasionally a client may use very colorful or explicit language.  It is important not to judge them but to assist them in getting to a place where they can communicate effectively without using irreverent slang.

8 Remember that communication is irreversible (See Proverbs 13:3 and 17:4). Once something has been said it is not possible to unsay it.  It is therefore important to use great care in what is said to the client so that it is always therapeutic and never harmful.


Four patterns of communication in dysfunctional families often observed are:

1. Placating — The placator is always trying to please, always apologizing, never disagrees.  He or she is a “yes man.”  He is always trying to get other people to approve of him.  He thinks his worth is nothing and thinks he’s lucky if anyone talks to him.  He agrees with any criticism made about him and blames himself if anything goes wrong.

2. Blamer — this is the fault-finder, the dictator, the boss.  He acts superior.  He cuts everyone and everything down.  He throws his weight around and doesn’t wait for people to answer his questions.  His voice is loud and shrill.

3. Computer — The computer is ultra reasonable, very correct with no semblance of any demonstrative feeling.  His voice is calm, cool and collected.  Compare this to a computer.  His voice is monotone, and he uses the longest words possible to sound intelligent.  The body and limbs are motionless and stiff.  He tries to say the right words, show no feeling and doesn’t react.  Inside he feels very vulnerable.

4. Distractor — He does or says nothing relevant to what anyone else is saying or doing.  He never makes a response to the point.  The voice is singsong, going up and down without reason.  His arms, legs, body and mouth are busily moving.  Questions are ignored and he    comes back with new questions on a different subject. His inside feelings are that nobody cares; there is no place for me.

In our final blog on this topic, we will take a look at some of the more controversial topics related to the Christian in care giving…the devil and inner healing.   Until next time….

Dr. Stan

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