Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date

5-18-2009

Abstract

How many of us really see another human being when we make contact with them, particularly when we might know them already? How often do we look at them closely, look at their eyes, concentrate, take stock of their ‘being’ at that actual moment? Not many of us and not very often I suspect. Instead, we see someone we’ve pigeonholed in our mind’s eye, and say to ourselves, I know this person – she’s a friend, or this person is talkative, or again, this one is boring or challenging – and so on, and we forget to look at them as complete people, with something to say, as someone who is important to me.

I ask these questions because the words ‘person-centred’ have become fairly humdrum; they are words that were briefly, politically popular but now, for many, they are hollowed-out, retaining only a dim echo of their original meaning. That meaning was, I think, to make us really pay attention and think about the ‘Other’ when having a conversation with someone who might be wanting services or establishing a work relationship.

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