A Therapist’s Favorite Question…

So what is a therapist’s favorite question?

One of my favorite questions is, “what do you mean by that?” It doesn’t go over so fabulously in relationships. After I ask that question the response I usually receive is “don’t therapize me”. In fact, “what do you mean by that?” is an important and valuable question in communication!  It allows the speaker to clearly respond to what he/she means rather than an interpretation of the listener.

I think this picture depicts EXACTLY that question. I mean what EXACTLY does “Do Not Disturb Rocks” mean?  One can deduce many meanings from this sign, such as:


  1. Perhaps the rocks are sleeping?
  2. Perhaps they are special rocks that should not be touched.
  3. Perhaps if you disturb them, they might bite…
  4. Perhaps if they are moved a giant hole will emerge and swallow you whole.

Good communication requires many things.  Most often people think that communication is in the speaking; it is even more important in the listening of others.  Have you ever really listened to someone?  What I mean by that is, have you turned off the ever running commentary in your head while someone is speaking, long enough to hear precisely what they are saying?  We often listen through filters of our own experience, what we deem is right and wrong, judgments, perceptions, etc.  Most of the time we aren’t listening at all.  We are thinking about what we are going to respond back with.  Here in lies the problem in communication.

What would it be like for your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, partner, friend… to have your full attention with no pre-conceived notions about what he/she is saying?  Nice, right!

Well if you are curious how Lemieux Solutions Unlimited, LLC can help you turn down the commentary in your head long enough to have a different conversation with the person in front of you, CONTACT US to see how we can help! In the meantime, using “what do you mean by that,” is really helpful!

By Katie Lemieux

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