PCM in Education: Hugs, Love, and Teddy Bears: Connecting with a Harmonizer by Jenny Briesch-Miller

education Jul 12, 2017

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” - (Dalai Lama XIV) 

These words ring true to those with strong harmonizer energy. As a base harmonizer, I grew up feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt other’s struggles as if they were my own, and did what I could to please them. My compassion and empathy is what led me to become a teacher. I wanted to help heal the world and to support and nurture children on their path through life. My ability to be open and loving with my students has always helped me cultivate strong relationships. I’ve always felt that with a little love and care I could reach anyone, despite their personality type. As this school year began, my classroom was brimming with 17 new kindergarteners, each with a unique set of characteristics. Their excitement and enthusiasm was contagious as I began to learn all of their personalities. I quickly learned that some of my students prefer when I use the requestive channel while others would much rather communicate using the emotive channel. I was soon able to communicate effectively with all of my students… Well, almost.


When I first met my harmonizer, I couldn’t quite figure her out. My intuition told me that she had a lot of harmonizer energy, but I began to question myself as she didn’t respond to the care channel. I tried my best to show her I care. “I would love if you came to the rug for morning meeting.” “Let’s sit together at lunch” Each of my attempts to communicate in a caring way was met with a blank stare. In fact, she didn’t respond well to any of the four communication channels. You see, she is not your “typical” base harmonizer child. She is sweet, sensitive, and empathetic, but also silly, loud, and occasionally downright defiant. She refused to participate in activities and would often utter a one word response, “no”. She would ignore directions and would shut down as soon as I said her name. Despite my efforts to show her how much I care, I couldn’t get through to her. I began to wonder how I, a base harmonizer, could not effectively communicate with another harmonizer? Why was it so difficult to reach her? To find the answer I had to dig deep and reflect on my own experience when I was a student.


When I first met my harmonizer, I couldn’t quite figure her out. My intuition told me that she had a lot of harmonizer energy, but I began to question myself as she didn’t respond to the care channel. I tried my best to show her I care. “I would love if you came to the rug for morning meeting.” “Let’s sit together at lunch” Each of my attempts to communicate in a caring way was met with a blank stare. In fact, she didn’t respond well to any of the four communication channels. You see, she is not your “typical” base harmonizer child. She is sweet, sensitive, and empathetic, but also silly, loud, and occasionally downright defiant. She refused to participate in activities and would often utter a one word response, “no”. She would ignore directions and would shut down as soon as I said her name. Despite my efforts to show her how much I care, I couldn’t get through to her. I began to wonder how I, a base harmonizer, could not effectively communicate with another harmonizer? Why was it so difficult to reach her? To find the answer I had to dig deep and reflect on my own experience when I was a student.


I, too, was not your typical harmonizer. I was loving and caring, but also playful, and occasionally, you guessed it, downright defiant. I felt misunderstood by the majority of my teachers growing up. They saw me for my tough exterior and did not understand the person I really was, a sensitive and highly empathetic child who felt the emotions of everyone around me. When I did encounter a teacher, who understood me and more importantly accepted me, I shined. When I felt that my teacher did not accept me, I shut down. During my reflection, it dawned on me… Had I put my harmonizer in a box just like my teachers had with me? Despite my use of the care channel, had I really accepted her for who she was. Was I meeting her psychological needs? I suddenly felt a rush of excitement that I had finally figured out where our struggle lied. It wasn’t the content of what I was saying to her, but the
context in which I was saying it. When I returned to school that following Monday I couldn’t wait to see if my theory was correct.I greeted my harmonizer in the morning with a good morning and a hug, as I always had, but I took the time to slow down and hear how she was feeling. When it was time to clean up and come to the rug, I suggested to her that she bring her stuffed animal for some extra cuddles. Her entire face lit up and she could not clean up fast enough. She was suddenly open and happy to share when we talked as a class about our weekend.


When it was time to work on an assignment, our typical struggle to communicate vanished. In a nurturative way, I asked her to pick two friends to sit with while completing her work. She was elated. Her and her friends happily snuggled in our cozy corner while working and chatting, honoring her environmental preference. When they had completed their work, they shared their project with the class. I had never seen my harmonizer shine so bright. She was strong and confident as she displayed her work for all to see. I suddenly began to see changes within her. She no longer refused to come to the rug. She began listening, and responding, as soon as I said her name. Her good morning hugs became just because hugs. She began to share her feelings and thoughts with me. She started to share silly stories to make me laugh. She also began to recognize that we both prefer the same channel of communication. “I’m the care channel, just like you!” she happily exclaimed. Once I began to honor her psychological needs, our relationship transformed. Our miscommunication soon vanished and we began to communicate effortlessly. I began to use the nurturative channel with her authentically. It was no longer just words or a means to communicate, I was now able to express my feelings to her.


My sweet, loving, but sometimes defiant Harmonizer had finally let down her tough exterior. She was finally able to show me who she really was inside. My Harmonizer finally felt understood, but most importantly, she felt accepted.


About the Author

Jenny Briesch-Miller is a California native and has worked alongside children for the last 7 years. She is currently the kindergarten teacher at MUSE School. She attended Pierce College before transferring to California Statue University at Northridge to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Upon graduation, she began providing in home respite and behavior therapy for children on the autism spectrum. Jenny discovered her love for teaching while providing behavior therapy in an elementary school setting. She was thrilled to join MUSE school in 2015 and cultivate her passion for teaching. When she began teaching at MUSE she was immediately drawn to the Process Communication Model. Her passion for Psychology aligned with PCM and she fell in love. Jenny believes that PCM is ground breaking in how we communicate with one another. As a base harmonizer phase rebel, she enjoys accessing all of her personality traits to help teach and communicate with her students. Jenny's goal is to become a PCM trainer in the future. Outside of teaching, she enjoys hiking, yoga, the beach, and running with her dogs Sam and Kona.

You can find out more about MUSE school in California here

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