Doctor Sees Different Kind of Problem in OC

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By Zach Osowski

Dr. Charity Whitehill said she thinks this county is facing a serious crisis. Not a health crisis, government conspiracy or a impending terror strike, but a communication crisis.

Whitehill recently opened a new business in La Grange called Dr. Charity Communications that specializes in helping people understand communication better.

She said many problems today, such as suicide and divorce could be solved if people understood their emotions and could express them well. Cases of domestic violence especially upset her.

“It just kills me to hear about them because I know something like that could have been prevented,” she said.

She explains when a person gets upset or angry the frontal lobe of their brain shuts down and essentially the person stops thinking. Whitehill said this can lead to only two things: flight or fight, and all too often the fight option ends badly.

These and other situations are what Dr. Charity Communications will look to fix through their communication courses. They will cover the whole gamut of communication from successful public speaking to body language.
Body language was the topic of a class attended by La Grange Police Chief Kevin Collett, Major Frank Conway and CASA program manager Carolyn Smither at Dr. Charity’s classroom in La Grange in September.

During the class, the three learned about how non-verbal communication can effect communication through a series of activities. They tried to have conversations while facing away from each other and even while holding hands to see the effects of body language.

Whitehill said you can read a lot about a person from what they’re not saying. Coughing, facial expressions, tone of voice and even crossed arms can be alerts as to what is going on in a person’s head. It can also go against what the person might actually be saying.

Whitehill, a former Army medic, got into the world of communication after teaching college courses for a short time. She said she saw how ineffective college seemed to be a preparing students for the real world or even getting them through school.

“I watched all these kids come into college who didn’t have the communication skills to finish it,” she said. “I didn’t like what I was doing anymore, they were worse off when they left us and I didn’t want to be part of a broke system.”

So she decided to start her own communication classes. Her target is community leaders like Collett or Smither who can use what they learn and pass it on. The CASA worker asked Whitehill to come speak to her whole staff after sitting through her body language class.

People who attend Dr. Charity’s classes can become certified communication teachers. She said there are three different tiers of certification. The recipients can then use the knowledge they received to train others in finer points of communication.

She said a lot of schools think they are teaching students how to communicate but said many of the teachers aren’t certified to be teaching the courses, whether it be college or public school.

“No one would let someone who didn’t know math teach a math class,” she said.

Whitehill said she is hoping to lead a grassroots movement here in La Grange with effective communication being the key to solving many problems not just for students but for everyone.

Email us about this story at zach@oldhamera.com