A long time before I decided to enter the field of psychology I spent my week-ends delivering speeches and debating both sides of the national debate topic at speech tournaments. In high school I was a "Ruby" member of the NFL--no, not the National Football League, but rather, the National Forensic League--an organization committed to preserving the art of good public speaking and critical thinking. I won many trophies and the honor of attending state championships. I continued my pursuit of competitive speech and debate in college and beyond--my first BA and MA were in speech communications, with minors in drama and music. I’ve studied the etymology of words, read S.I. Hywakawa’s books on semantics, and taken courses in inter-cultural communications. I know my speech training and love of communication through the spoken word has served as a tremendous asset to my counseling practice. To me, what we say and how we say it--in person--is still the best way for the human race to understand one another. Speaking with one another not only involves the spoken word, but also the non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication or "Body Language" always reinforces or negates what we are saying.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were having dinner with a group of friends that included people in their 20s. One of the young girls remarked that it’s hard for her to talk to people over the phone or in person. She added that she is a whiz at texting, tweeting, and Face Book posts--but in one-on-one situations she feels shy and withdrawn.

To me, this was a confirmation of a developing phenomenon I’ve noticed in the last few years. It seems that our leaps and bounds in technological advancement have depleted our ability to have real conversations with our friends and family members. It seems that it is much easier for people to send off an email, or a text filled with abbreviations and misspelled words than it is to pick up the phone (cell, or otherwise) and say "Hello", let alone just drop by for a visit to say "Hi".

Are we too lazy to speak? Or, could it be that it is so much easier to hide behind a text, a tweet, an email, or a post? Our voice can reveal volumes about who we are and how we are feeling; as can our body. When we speak face –to-face, we also add the element of non-verbal communication--body language. If we are skilled communicators and mindful of what we are doing, it is possible to control our facial expressions and even our vocal quality; but it is much harder to control our body movements. The smallest "fidget" or foot-tapping can blow our cover. In my business I’ve seen younger couples who actually fight with their text messages or posts on Face Book instead of sitting down in person to share their feelings and work out their differences.

From time to time I interact with business people who refuse to return phone calls. If it can’t be said in an email or a text, than the question or request goes unanswered.

I do like my computers and my cell phone; they are both convenient and save time (if you know how to use them correctly). And of course, without at computer I wouldn't be able to post my web site over the internet. However, I feel that technology is the death card for person–to-person communication . The art of communication is fast becoming a lost art. An important law of biology is that every species creates itself into extinction. When I think of that law, I can’t help but wonder if technology isn’t our way of creating our own demise--not just communication, but in all aspects of the human condition. We already have the technology to create robots that can clean our houses and bring us small items that we might need. But (a far- fetched scenario, I know) what if a human, or another robot for that matter pushes a wrong button, or gives a bad command. The ramifications of such an act are too frightening for this blog.

Maybe my age is showing, but I feel there is something to be said for the pre-computer and pre-cell-phone days. I’m lucky enough to have witnessed the growth of communication technology from the identifying 3-longs and 2-short rings on the party line phone of my grand-parents to the 4-G (whatever that means) cell phones of today. Today’s conveniences are wonderful but I miss the long conversations I used to have with my friends. Sometimes, its’ nice to turn off all of life’s conveniences and just spend time with a person or persons and engage in some old-fashioned, soul-searching conversation. Speaking to one another creates understanding and bonding. It brings us closer together as humans and helps us identify the ways in which we are alike--the human condition.

In this age of technology, let’s not forget that we are special human beings endowed with the gift and talent to deliver meaningful, spoken words. Let’s re-visit the art of the spoken word and "real" conversation.

© Copyright 2011 Dr. Janolyn F. Moore, PhD. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Before relocating to North Carolina in 2011, Dr. Janolyn Moore owned and served as co-director of the Golden Branch Wellness Center in Woodland Hills, California. Her Golden Energy technique of healing grew from her interest and years of research of mind/body correlations to disease and healing. The result, Golden Energy, accomplishes all of the aspects needed to promote a total holistic healing experience. Subtle energy work combined with psychology, imagery, and hypnotherapy assist in removing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual blocks to the healing process. Her approach enables her patients to experience better health and well-being, increased success in all aspects of life, and to experience better and more fulfilling relationships.

Dr. Moore's integrative practice augments traditional Western medicine and psychological approaches to accelerate the healing process. It helps improve the quality of life for those who experience physical illness, chronic pain, or emotional or mental problems.

Dr. Moore served as a staff member for ten years at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in California. She facilitated group psychological counseling for both the in-patient and out-patient Behavioral Health unit. She served as a member of the hospital's Integrative Medicine team and taught classes in hypnosis, guided imagery, mind/body heath, and a holistic approach to managing menopause for the Healing Arts program. As well, she facilitated cancer support groups and provided counseling for patients in the Oncology unit.

In 2004, Dr. Moore was voted best hypnosis professional for the greater Los Angeles area by the readers of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Dr. Moore is an accomplished teacher, published writer, public speaker and seminar leader. She teaches her holistic approach to healing to medical and mental health practitioners throughout the country.

Dr. Moore's clientele extends throughout North America and Europe. As well as combined energy sessions, she offers integrative mind/body counseling, hypno-imagery, and expressive arts therapy. Phone sessions are available and very popular. Each session is 1/12 to 2 hours in length and is recorded in either an MP3 or CD format for the patient so that they may continue to experience the benefits of the session at any time.

Dr. Moore holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Depth Psychology, from Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Carpinteria, California. Additionally, she holds a BA and MA in speech communications. She is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and studied Oriental medicine at Samra University.

Dr. Moore is available for private sessions, public speaking engagements, or seminars. To contact her for more information or to request a session, please use the email request form found on the Golden Energy web site.