Why is reflective listening important to your work as a parenting practitioner? Describe what your inner attitude needs to be in order to listen helpfully. Reflective listening is a two-fold process which involves: 1. Really hearing and understanding what the other person is saying through words and body language, and 2. Reflecting feelings and thoughts you heard through your own words, tone-of-voice, body posture and gesture so that the other person knows he or she is understood. Reflective listening is important when working with parents, as we need to build up a trusting relationship, based on congruence, empathy, respect and positive regard for the parent. By using these listening techniques we are able to show the parents we understand where they are coming from and offer them their fears and feelings back, in a non-threatening way – this allows parents to recognise and acknowledge themselves and their feelings, which is the first step towards bringing about the changes they wish to see. We must also remember that we are role models for parents who may be struggling, and by showing parents how to actively listen, this can enhance their relationship’s with their children, family, partner, etc. In order to show empathy, respect, positive regard and congruence, we have to be aware of what is going on for us. Every body will come across a parent or professional that they cannot seem to click with, this is usually due to our own past experiences or upbringing – it is by acknowledging what is going on for us, and the use of supervisions, that we can (as the professional) put aside our own anxieties, in order to treat every parent with the dignity and respect they deserve. Reflective listening is extremely important when holding groups and call taking. Not only do you have to understand the ways in which to listen to others, how to reflect, paraphrase and use listening skills to aid the parent but your own feelings, beliefs and attitudes are important in terms of being able to be present and determine the quality of our own listening.
By using listening as a communication skill we are able to:
▪ Build a connection and close relationship with the person we are listening to – as they then feel accepted for what they are saying and understood. If we were to leave this one sided and never comment or use non-verbal communication to show we listen and/or understand the person would feel they are talking and no one is listening at all. Also if we interrupt and make the conversation turn around to our own situations we can make the person feel unimportant and as though their feelings do not matter. By listening appropriate we build up our relationship and understanding.
▪ Alongside helping to build close relations, by listening we help build self-esteem. As the parent feels more understand, acknowledged and cared about they in turn see themselves as worthy of this care. This helps to make you feel as though your needs matter and empowers the parent/caller.
▪ Listening also has the practical affect of being able to increasingly understand the callers/parents situation and in turn will reduce the frustration of the parent. Oftentimes a person calling or a parent within a group can feel like no one understands them, or frustrated by being alone in their anxieties, fears or concerns. By having someone listen and understand can make such a huge difference and help to relieve previous frustrations.
▪ From discussing empathy previously I described how by listening and emphasising we were able to move on to looking at the situation in a productive way. By reflecting the situation back to the call taker we can help the call taker to problem solves for themselves, with as little intervention as possible, thus empowering and enabling the caller/parent.
Active listening describes a way of listening to another which helps improve mutual...