The one truth of our business
07 June 2016
Carolyn Cleveland, Founder and Managing Director, C&C Empathy Training
Having the courage to stay with someone’s distress long enough, has a powerful effect: it validates their experience. But more than that, it validates their feelings, their life, their truth.
And this one truth as I see it, has guided my and business partner Vanessa’s lives for as long as we can remember.
From me it is staying with the distress of a 4 year old girl as she grieved for her mum (my friend). To staying with that same child’s distress when she herself ended up in hospital 11 years later aged 15. To then needing so very much for people to stay with my distress as I grieved when this girl, who by then was a daughter to me, tragically lost her own life.
Vanessa had to stay with patients’ and loved ones’ distress as a nurse, in particularly in intensive care. She knew that the key to handling difficult conversations was engaging sufficiently to hear, and I mean really hear, all that was being said, no matter how subtle the cues were to how someone was feeling and what they needed. This ‘truth’, as I see it, has been an intrinsic and important part of our experiences and now guides our business. So whilst we are still in our first year of trading, this particular training business of ours, indeed our passion and purpose, has in fact been in gestation for many, many years. It is now out of our heads, on paper and being disseminated to promote staff wellbeing, good patient experience and communication with care.