Why Listening Is Very Imporyant in Counseling

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Fundamental to good counseling is the ability to listen to a client with total and undivided attention, in a non-judgmental way and absorb and understand what is being said. Clients might have been rarely listened to before, as often in the pressures of life and work listening is an undervalued skill. Often perceived as lack of action it is in fact a skill that is basic to communication. One cannot comment or engage in a real two-way dialogue without really understanding what is being said. A good counselor needs to listen, not just to the actual words that are being said, but also to the subtext, often unspoken but so important. Clients may find it difficult to open up and state some of their inmost fears and worries - a good counselor must really listen to and acknowledge the inner "base line" the still small voice that is begging to be heard. My direct experiences both with clients and in experiential groups confirm this. It can often be difficult, even in a supportive atmosphere to open up fully. It can take time for a client to really say what they think and feel and even long for the unconscious to emerge. Silence can be of great importance in listening. It is often so tempting to complete someone else's sentence - a good counselor needs to carefully gauge when it is time to intervene - perhaps only when a silence becomes persecutory. The ability to listen and hear what people are trying to say, not just what they are saying. To believe that a person's perception of themselves (accurate or not) is what they perceive to be reality. To understand the techniques that manipulative people use and to identify those techniques and people. Many people don't realize that they are doing that. To respect a person with values and beliefs different from your own and to be able to give them assistance accordingly. The ability to deal with difficult people without losing your temper. Patience, care, concern, the ability...
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