On listening

“The purest form of listening is to listen without memory or desire” – Wilfred Bion

As a newcomer to the fields of group relations and organizational change, I approach this blog more as a learner than anything else. I intend to use this space to explore the history of, practice of, and issues arising from group relations, organizational change, and psychoanalysis, as relates to my work with Bureau Kensington. This will be the story not just of these fields but of my personal and professional growth.

I found the above quote by Wilfred Bion on Mark Goulston’s excellent blog Just Listen. Bion goes on to elaborate that when we listen with memory, we are intent on making the speaker part of an old agenda; when we listen with desire we are intent on making them part of a new one. To listen purely, to just listen, is the most difficult – and the most valuable – thing.

As I learn and share with you what I have learned I hope that I can approach this ideal of productive and non-judgemental listening – listening to the primary sources, colleagues, clients, commenters – without memory, desire, past, future, or agenda.

– Kristin Mueller-Heaslip

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