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For all of us the role of listener can be a bit unnerving. We are much more used to talking so in terms of assisting someone who wants to express themselves to us we need to become more passive.
The funny thing is that listening seems to be so challenging when actually it can be quickly and easily learnt by using the techniques of Active Listening. Active Listening is widely used by helplines such as the Samaritans as it allows a consistent approach, established empathy but, importantly, also allows the listener to keep distance between themselves and the person who wants to talk.
It is actually ok to ask someone about their mental state. We need to know where their thoughts are going even though it may seem challenging.
So how do you ask a someone about their thinking?
"Active Listening" is simply the offering of friendship by one ordinary human being to another at a time of crisis or loneliness. An Active Listener doesn’t need to have professional status or authority, but is simply a fellow human being who cares. The purpose of Active Listening is to listen, accept, care and empathise.
Allowing the person with a problem to express and to talk without being judged.
Allowing the person to stay in neutral and accept their feelings as they are.
Allowing one human being to reach out to another human being with respect.
Allowing the listener to hear where the speaker is coming from and allows us to be sensitive to another's feelings or ideas even when we don’t agree.
The purpose of Active Listening is not to give advice, instruct, solve problems, or judge. It is to respect the worth and value of another human being through Listening, Accepting, Caring, and Empathising.
A good Active Listener is someone who:
listen more than talk
direct the conversation to the painful feelings
have compassion for sufferer
risk being foolish
attempt to be available at all times
remain willing to share another person's pain
× offer opinion or judgments
× belittle or minimise concerns
× discuss one's own problems
× give advice
× express shock or surprise
× patronise or probe
× offer platitudes and clichés
× make promises that cannot be kept
× interpret, lecture or diagnose
× Say "I know just how you feel."
× fail to pay attention or care
YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME WHEN...
YOU ARE LISTENING TO ME WHEN...