Active Listening - Paper

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Active listening is an essential component to effective communication. It is an interpersonal communication technique that is used throughout an array of occupations, particularly in Child Counseling. This essay will outline the definition of Active Listening, as well as explore the different techniques and purposes of the communication skill. The role of a Child Counselor and the importance of effective communication within the job will also be investigated and discussed throughout this essay. Finally, a personal reflection on previous communication experience, as well as my ability to be an effective communicator will be included. It is suggested throughout this essay that Active Listening is a fundamental skill required for effective communication within Child Counseling.

Developed by psychologist, Carl Rogers, Active listening is defined as listening to someone attentively in order to effectively receive the message that the speaker is trying to convey (Robertson, 2005). The foremost goal of Active Listening is to assist clients in telling their story, as well as to develop a trusting and open relationship in which clients can confide in. This objective is reached most effectively by applying a common theory (Comer and Drollinger 1999; Gearhart and Bodie 2011) that suggests active listening is a multi-dimensional process involving the stages of sensing, processing, and responding. The ‘sensing stage’ is demonstrated through attentive body language and appropriate eye contact, and is successfully achieved when the listener receives both the verbal and non-verbal messages. After that, suitably evaluating and processing the information that the listener receives, helps to effectively achieve the ‘processing stage’. By doing this, the listener is generating potential to correctly respond to the clients needs, presuming they have correctly evaluated the situation. The final step to successfully applying active listening is the ‘responding stage’. This is seemingly the most important as it demonstrates that the whole active listening process has been developed correctly. It requires the listener to repeat to the client what they have heard, preferably through paraphrasing, and additionally involves asking questions and clarifications to let the client know that their story has being interpreted correctly.

Active listening is used in many different professions throughout everyday life. Child Counseling is one particular career that achieves success through the dependence of active listening skills. Counseling is a practiced profession that involves supporting people through struggles regarding psychological, behavioural, and emotional changes that are brought about by certain life experiences. It is a form of therapy that assists people in dealing with and understanding the issues they are encountering. Child Counseling is exactly the same as Counseling, however dealing with adolescents. It is recognized that child counseling is unfortunately becoming used more frequently over time. At present, the most common problems that young clients are facing relate to experiences involving divorce, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, trauma, stress, bullying etc. As the issues of children are changing and increasing over time, it is important that counselors’ exercise appropriate means of resolution for all issues on all scales of intensity. Active Listening is a fundamental skill that remains beneficial in assisting children with all the problems of today’s world.

Many child counselors and psychologist agree that active listening is necessary in their occupation. Sharpe and Cowie (1998, p. 81) affirmed that approaches to assisting children through counseling methods vary in importance, however, basic skills of active listening remain imperative to all forms of child counseling. Furthermore, Current practitioner, Claire Chandler (Child Psychologist; Personal Communication, March 31st 2012), believes that...
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