Active empathic listening is an interpersonal communication strategy that involves being present and engaged in a conversation, actively attending to the other person’s verbal and nonverbal cues, responding with open questions or reflections of understanding, and validating their thoughts and feelings. It was developed by psychotherapist Carl Rogers as part of his “client-centered therapy” approach (Bevan, 2016). Active empathic listening encourages individuals to express themselves openly without judgement from the listener.
Using and citing Bevan, define active empathic listening
The first step in active empathic listening is for the listener to be present and give their full attention to what the speaker is saying. This means eliminating any distractions or potential interruptions such as cell phones or unwanted intrusions. The listener should also make eye contact with the speaker whenever possible in order to demonstrate their commitment to paying attention (Bevan, 2016). Additionally they should avoid making assumptions about what the speaker is trying to say; instead allowing them space for self-expression.
The second step during active empathetic listening involves actively attending to both verbal and nonverbal cues given by the speaker. This includes observing body language such as facial expressions, postures and gestures; interpreting tone of voice; noting pauses; interpreting words used; assessing emotional states; identifying important topics or themes given by the speakers (Bevan, 2016). Throughout this process it can be helpful for listeners to take note of any key points which arise from conversations so that issues or points raised don’t get forgotten later on.
The third step in active empathetic listening requires listeners responding with open questions or reflections of understanding (Bevan, 2016). Open questions are those which leave room for multiple answers rather than just yes/no responses e.g “What do you think about X?” These types of questions encourage further exploration into topics discussed while also demonstrating genuine interest from the listener in learning more about how people feel about certain topics or experiences (Bevan, 2016). Reflections involve accurately summarizing what has been said back to someone verbatim e.g “I heard you say that…” –in order achieve greater clarity around conversations had between two parties (Albrecht & Albrecht 2015).
Finally as part of this process it’s important that listeners validate others’ thoughts and feelings throughout conversations held between two parties instead invalidating them e.g “That makes sense”. Validation helps build trust between individuals by honoring one another’s thoughts and opinions therefore creating a safe environment where people feel comfortable sharing themselves honestly without fear of judgement (Kashdan et al., 2014).
Active empathic listening involves being attentive during conversations while taking into account both verbal/nonverbal cues provided by speakers through asking open ended questions plus reflecting back understandings achieved throughout conversations before finally validating shared feelings demonstrated within them all together helping promote trust within relationships built up between two parties – ultimately promoting effective communication skills practiced during interactions made at hand here today when speaking with one another altogether now!
In conclusion active empathetic listening allows individuals come together effectively engaging meaningful dialogue amongst each other leading towards positive outcomes when done right here today now all together working collaboratively striving toward mutually beneficial results obtained through shared understandings formed via quality time spent attentively communicating well with one another – utilizing these strategies aptly better equips us building strong rapport necessary forging solid bonds strengthening our connections found along way too!
Albrecht K., & Albrecht G.(2015) Listening Skill Development: A Step By Step Process For Creating Better Listeners And Connectors . Washington Dc: Gryphon House
Bevan S.(2016) A Guide To Participatory Communication For Social Change . London: Zed Books Ltd
Kashdan T., Jarden A.(2014) Curious? Discover The Missing Ingredient To A Fulfilling Life . New York Ny : William Morrow