Sketch of an old footbridge over a stream

The Bridge Between

Exploring dialogue through the lens

of Martin Buber and Contextual Therapy

Healing Dialogue

Synonyms

Antonyms


Definition

Dialogue, according to Buber, is not about conversation, rather, being fully present to both yourself and the other. We are not machines. We live through authentic relationship where we are seen, addressed, and known. Relational right and left brain integrated presence with another is essential to life and healing and grows us into personhood. Pressure is intense to script our lives through function, yet the invitation is alive in each moment to be awake and free, to choose to be present, aware, conscious, and engaged in relational self-other dynamic exchange through meeting. Contextual Therapy describes the two parts of dialogue as Self Delineation and Due Consideration. Nagy elicited healing dialogues between members of families by helping each person to turn and face one another and to find the courage to know and to say what they needed or what they had given to the other. In this space of openness and mutuality new possibilities are born for genuine meeting and healing. Dialogical engagement is the key to healing in Contextual Therapy and is stewarded through multi-directed partiality, exoneration, crediting, fair, just, and trustworthy actions in balanced giving and receiving across time and between the generations. Healing dialogue creates legacies of strength for the next generation whose voice is not yet heard.

Example

An invitation to dialogue: "At times I feel alone.  I feel like the burden of initiative falls to me.  Words get stilted beyond everyday tasks. Regardless of what is spoken, what I hear sounds judgmental. And then I react. I get guarded and defensive. I feel rattled and unsure. My imagination fails me.  How to engage? What to say that won't cause conflict? How to talk about how to talk? Sometimes I feel like we live side by side rather than face to face. . . . I’m reaching out to you.  I hope you hear my words as a gift of love. My hope is to open a new pathway. I would hope that you could find your way to me, here.”