Daily Archives: May 1, 2009

The art of listening

The Irish actor Gabriel Byrne was interviewed by Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air about his portrayal of a psychotherapist on the HBO series In Treatment. The show has captured fans because of the inherent drama of diverse characters being guided to insights by a gifted, if flawed, therapist who is a world-class listener, observer, and interviewer. You can listen to the interview about listening here.

“We hear sometimes but we don’t often really listen. Really truly profoundly listening is to be unaware of yourself at a deep level. Listening is one of the byrne2most profound compliments you can pay another person. To feel that you’re heard is deeply fulfilling in a human way.”

“I’m fascinated by the notion of somebody giving their full and very considered opinion to the narrative of my life. I think what a good psychotherapist does, I imagine, is that they help you to write the real narrative of your life and come to terms with it, because I think we have a tendency when we talk about our lives to kind of magnify certain things and give them an importance, idealize certain things, and be in denial about other things. And looking at the narrative of your life and how that influences who you are as an adult cannot help but be a good process.”

“It’s a very tough business to be in [acting], because so much of it is about rejection, just being in work, being out of work, being in competition. But the thing about it is I’ve learned not to define myself by what I do. And that is a very big lesson sometimes for young actors to absorb. You are not your job.”

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Filed under honesty, narrative, NOTED, religion & spirituality