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Breaking the Silence Fear can hold us back from sharing what is on our hearts and mind. Fear of the unknown and fear of rejection are two things that come to mind when I think | WriteDen

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 student 1 

Breaking the Silence

Fear can hold us back from sharing what is on our hearts and mind. Fear of the unknown and fear of rejection are two things that come to mind when I think of why people are quiet. Wagner and Ingersoll (2013) states, “Although it is important that member participate in group activities and interactions, some may be less talkative than others for various reasons—introversion, having a different background than most members, experiencing shame or anger. Whatever the reason may be that a person is silent, it is important to remember that they have a story to share if we are patient and show some compassion.

Invite Rather Than Expect

When discussing the storming stage of group, Gladding (2020) states, “group members are initially more anxious in their interactions with on another because they are afraid of losing control, being misunderstood, looking foolish, or being rejected. Some avoid taking a risk by remaining silent currently…” (p. 108). It is important to remember that as leaders of group we need to invite them to share rather than expecting them to immediately share. Using techniques aimed at getting every group member to share a little information might be the best way to get a quiet member of the group to open slowly. However, Wagner and Ingersoll (2013) point out, “…if a member hesitates, simply acknowledge that it’s okay if he or she wishes to remain silent. By shaping interactions over time, so that talkative members listen more, and quiet members talk more, things tend to even out.” (p. 126).

Pressuring someone to share before they are ready can cause an adverse reaction in the person who is being silent. As counselors we are constantly reminded that we are to do no harm as we seek to help others. We do not want to lose the person we are trying to help, so giving them some freedom to slowly open  up may be the best way to do no harm and to actually help the individual.

Biblical Example

When it comes to an example of a person who was very skilled at getting people to open up, I would point to Jesus as being the ultimate counselor. While Jesus had abilities beyond our comprehension, he followed a very simple principle of showing compassion and not condemning people he encountered. An example of Jesus using this principle was when the scribes and the Pharisees had brought a woman that was caught in adultery. John 8:10-11 (English Standard Version) states, Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn You; go, and from now on sin no more.’”


Simple compassion and patience can do wonders for helping another person open up. If we come in attempting to judge and condemn another person that person will more than likely shut down. Patience and compassion in meeting someone where they are will help that person feel comfortable and eventually, we hope, will help them open up.

*** Student 2 Reply ***

Wagner and Ingersoll (2013) proposed several conversation-shaping techniques that play a crucial role in motivating the members of a group and making them talk and share. As a leader, I can apply some of these techniques to a group where members seem scared and make them interact with one another. The first technique I will apply is guiding members’ communication. I will provide them with a common language with which each member is comfortable and has no difficulties. English is a common language I believe no person will have a problem using. In addition, I will encourage them to respect each other and take time to reason so that they may not jump to conclusions (Gupta et al., 2022). Another technique is eliciting discussion. In this case, I will pose multiple questions to the group and give clues to the answers. It will make the members develop stimulus that will make them talk and willing to share ideas.

Pairing is a technique that I will also use, considering that not all members are comfortable in large groups. Therefore, I will allow building a rapport and also form a small setting. A small setting comprises few people; hence, the members are not scared. In this small group, I will teach them how to be confident, overcome fear, and give them time to improve. Establishing focus is also a crucial technique that I will implement. I will let each member know their roles and responsibilities in attaining the set goals. Besides, I will provide the necessary resources, time, and attention so that members may feel they have valued something that may motivate them to open up.

Paul is one of the prominent characters in the bible that encouraged his followers to share and open up. He had followers in different parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. Paul was an apostle moving from one place to another, and whenever Paul would leave his followers, persecution befell them. On returning, he would pray and later sit and ask them to share their challenges (Harwanto, 2022). He usually asked his members to be bold and express all they passed through without fearing any authority but God. Paul also dedicated a lot of time listening to different groups. Some members were scared and could not appear during the day; therefore they had some time during the night. Paul and Jesus shared the same characteristics, and much to learn from them. I have learned that it is vital to give attention and dedicate enough time to a group that needs assistance. Prayer is great because it helps strengthen those who are weak and scared in a particular group.

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