Structuralism and the Plant Kingdom

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Frodsham (Chester), Cheshire, United Kingdom
Interests: Philosophy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Psychosynthesis, Hypnotherapy and R.E.B.T.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Active Listening

Active listening (Xref: therapeutics.1.1) is a listening style which helps encourage clients to open up and for therapists to check their understanding of the story. This style also helps give structure and direction to the consultation. Ivey & Ivey (2007) emphasize three components of active listening: encouraging, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

Following the Rogerian style we aim to be an empathetic listener and retain a non-judgmental attitude, additionally ...
  • We encourage the client to go on with simple statements (Yes, I see) or gestures (nodding) that avoid interrupting the story ... these are known as "Encouragers".
  • We can emphasise our interest by returning direct quotes to the client known as "Restatements".
  • We can also paraphrase by including much longer phrases and incorporate some of the client's own "important" words so that they will know that you are hearing and understanding what they are telling you.
  • Last, summarizing can be a valuable tool that helps your clients to organize their thoughts. Summarizing can take place at anytime during the interview and can be a way for the therapist to start an interview and focus the client on areas that need to be explored further.
From personal experience I have to add that the rationale of Active Listening must be explained properly before the process begins because there is a danger that clients may feel that they are being ridiculed!

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