This paper explores the skills of active listening. The resources in this paper define active listening along with the advantages of having active listening skills from a clinical perspective and effective ways to communicate through encouraging, paraphrasing and summarizing. Other resources will define different barriers that hinder the ability to actively listen. Lee and Hatesohl (2011) suggest for us to be effective communicators, it is necessary to become active listeners (abstract). Ivey, Ivey and Zalaquett (2010) suggest that to be an effective active listener, it will demand that the counselor participate fully by helping the client clarify, enlarge and enrich their story (p. 151). Nichols (2006) suggests that active listening is a major key to the development of establishing healthy relationships with not only others, but with ourselves (abstract). According to Rogers and Farson (2006), they suggest that many people believe that active listening is a passive approach, but clinical and research evidence clearly shows that active listening is almost as an effective agent for individual personality change and group development (abstract).
The Importance of Active Listening
70% of our time is spent communicating; at least half of all communication time is spent listening, according to Lee and Hatesohl (2006, abstract). Research by Lee and Hatesohl (2006) suggest that for us to be effective communicators, the counselor has to become active listeners. This paper examines Lee and Hatesohl research concerning active listening (abstract). There are many people that may not have heard of the term Active Listening. Lee and Hatesohl (2006) suggest that active listening is a communication technique that is used to improve relationships by reducing conflicts, helping others find solutions to their problems, coaching, and opening lines of communication (abstract). Lee and Hatesohl (2006) suggest that active listening is a structured way of listening and responding to others, while focusing attention fully on the speaker (abstract). Being an active listener, shows interest and appreciation for the thoughts and concerns of the speaker. It shows commitment to them by letting them speak without interrupting. Active listening shows respect, support, and concern for the other person. Active listening promotes trust between the individual and the other person. The counselor and client relationship is enhanced when the client is listened to. Ivey, Ivey and Zalaquett (2010, p. 151) suggests when using the active listening technique, it’s important for the listener to observe the speaker’s behavior and body language. Knowledge and understanding of how to read body language will allow the listener to correctly interpret and develop a more accurate understanding of the speaker’s message. Active listening can be hard to do and there need to be the intent to do it. The counselor must give the client their full concentration and undivided attention as when listening. Counselors need to understand the other person’s thoughts through their statements and actions. From a counseling perspective clients need to know that interviewers have heard what they are saying, (Ivey et al., 2010). Ivey et al.’s (2010) book suggests clients should feel the interviewer understands their story and their experiences (p. 152). Once that happens, most clients will become more open and acceptable to change (p. 152). Ivey et al., 2010 also suggest that to be an effective active listener, it will demand that the counselor participate fully by helping the client clarify, enlarge and enrich their story (p. 149). This may not be easy to do. The counselor needs to give their full concentration and undivided attention as they listen. Counselors need to understand the other person’s thoughts through their statements and actions. Ivey et al., (2010) suggests the counselor do not just hear what the person says, but also see, feel, and imagine it (p....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document