Dr. Keith Ablow Explains the Importance of Developing a Third Ear

by Keith Ablow Dr Keith Ablow Newburyport MA

Dr. Keith Ablow explained the “third ear” is something counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists spend their careers refining, but others can benefit from developing, as well.  It’s the concept first introduced by the psychoanalyst Theodor Reik that human beings can train themselves to listen not just to words that are being spoken by others, but to the deeper meaning behind what is being said—or not said.

According to Dr. Ablow, the main principal of the third ear theory is that people often express important messages about what they are thinking and feeling “between the lines” and that you can “hear” those messages by being both a participant and an observer of conversations. “Listening to yourself while listening” can strengthen the way you connect and communicate with others, helping you build stronger relationships and help you better understand yourself.


The third ear can be a valuable source of personal emotional information that you can draw upon in everyday relationships, Dr. Ablow explained. When you find yourself confused by a comment or conversation, Dr. Ablow advised taking a moment to pause and reflect and listen to your inner voice. Reflecting on your inner feelings, and that voice in your head, may bring up unexpected emotions or awkward memories, however, when you take time to understand them you are better able to make a deeper connection in your communications.


As an example, Dr. Keith Ablow shared how he had a client who was suffering from low mood and relationships filled with conflict. She spent almost the entire first hour of their session together describing the complex relationship she had with her mother. “I noticed that I had an uneasy feeling that her initial description of her relationship with her mother might expand to fill that hour completely and the next one, too—not because the time was absolutely needed, but because other subjects were being avoided,” Dr. Ablow said.  “I ‘listened’ to that sense of unease and then thought about what seemed to be missing from the hour.”


Ablow explained that at a natural break in the conversation he said, “I notice that you haven’t mentioned your father at all.  Not once.  Can you tell me about him?” Ablow further explained, “That question proved to be critical, because the woman’s relationship with her father was profoundly chaotic—so chaotic, in fact, that my client had been attempting to avoid talking about it, entirely.”


“If you can develop your own third ear, you will not only have a profound tool to connect with others more deeply and meaningfully, you will be training yourself to listen to your inner voice—your instincts and intuition,” Ablow said.


Dr. Ablow provided some questions you can ask yourself while listening to others, in order to develop your own third ear:


· I know what we are talking about right now, but is there anything we are avoiding talking about?

· Why do I feel bored (or anxious or angry or a little bit lost) listening to this individual?  Is he trying to make me cut this meeting short by tiring me out?  Am I resonating with his anxiety?  Do I have the sense he withholding the truth from me—or himself?

· If I do feel confused, what is it that doesn’t “add up” about this discussion?

· I’ve asked the same question a few times and can’t seem to get a clear answer.  What might this woman’s motivation be for being evasive?  


Drawing upon your own personal experiences and reflections will help you to better understand what someone is saying “between the lines” and provide a more powerful way to connect with them. Depending on what your instincts and intuition tell you about the underlying dynamics of the conversation, Dr. Ablow suggests that you can issue invitations in the form of direct, but empathetic questions to open the door to get to know each other far more.


Here are a few examples:


I know you were running late and now that means we have less time to spend together. Maybe it was the train schedule, as you said, but it felt to me more like you were trying to avoid having a deeper discussion- by cutting our time short. I want you to know if you have more on your mind, we can meet again soon to discuss.


I felt myself wanting to give you a pep talk while you were presenting the project goals.  Are you worried about them?  Do you have what you need to meet them?


You’ve been so quick to tell me that you have everything covered for your appointment with the doctor.  If there were one thing I could have helped with, that surprised youe, what would it be?


Taking the time to develop your third ear will make you a better listener and stronger communicator- allowing you the opportunity to more powerfully connect in relationships. When we engage our third ear we can avoid pitfalls like negative assumptions of what the other person intended to communicate.


Dr. Keith Ablow has developed his own coaching and counseling program called Pain-2-Power where he works with clients on improving relationships, reducing anxiety, and empowering them both personally and professionally.


“Developing this sort of ‘third ear’ is a natural outgrowth of the Pain-2-Power process because

P-2-P is all about not dodging and weaving around the complex pages or chapters of one’s own life story.  And that journey to the center of oneSELF increases one’s skill and hunger to not remain on the surface of any story,” Dr. Ablow said.


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About Keith Ablow Junior   Dr Keith Ablow Newburyport MA

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Joined APSense since, October 20th, 2020, From Newburyport, United States.

Created on Oct 28th 2020 22:13. Viewed 85 times.


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