By Diane Vanas on August 25th, 2008(viewed 1676 times).


This poem was written by Ray Houghton, M.D. Berkeley, CA.


When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,
You have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell why I shouldn’t feel that way,
You are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
You have failed me, strange as that may seem.
All I asked was that you listen, not to talk or do – just hear me.
And I can do for myself: I’m not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
You contribute to my fear and weakness.
But when you accept as a simple fact I do feel what I feel,
No matter how irrational, it may seem easier for me to quit trying to convince you and I can get about the business of understanding what’s behind this seemingly irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.
Feelings make sense and are respectable when we understand what’s behind them.
Perhaps why prayer works, sometimes, for some people,
Is because God is mute and doesn’t give advice to try to fix things.
Those who care enough to just listen, communicate that they have faith that you can work things out for yourself.
So, please listen and just hear me.
And, if you want to talk, wait a minute
For your turn; and I’ll listen to you.




A naturally therapeutic person is one who, by a natural response to those in pain, empowers them to realize their own healing potential lies within them, and never in the one who is helping or giving advice.

-- Jaquelyn Small, 1993  


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