Active Listening

Topics: Learning, Nonverbal communication, Emotion Pages: 2 (504 words) Published: May 26, 2014
 In my career as a substance abuse counselor there are many skills needed to be proficient in my profession. Since the 1960s there has been a lot of focus on counselor’s communication skills. Active listening has become very important in the treatment of addictions. Active listening combines both verbal and non-verbal skills in order to produce positive results. By using my non-verbal skills I must always maintain eye contact and be aware of the client’s body movement, to be able to give positive feedback to my client. As counselors we must always be attentive to what the client is saying. By applying verbal skills, saying yes, okay and nodding my head will show the client that I am interested in the conversation. I must be careful and not continuously respond to the client, because it may give the impression that I am just pretending to listen. Being a counselor, I must remember that the goal of active listening is to build trust, collect information and maintain a relaxed atmosphere. One technique of active listening is empathy. Empathy is my ability to show compassion and have a deep level of understanding. While listening to a client, we must feel the pain and confusion they are expressing to us. I have to be able to see the world through their eyes. As a counselor we must be highly trained in the technique of empathy. It is so easy for our own personal experiences to get tangled up with those of our clients. I must set aside my personal beliefs and focus on the client’s recovery. Being human, sometimes we can get empathy confused with sympathy. Sympathy does show compassion, but it also can make the client feel that you are feeling sorry for them. If a client thinks that you are feeling sorry for them, it can make them feel inferior and brake down all communications and trust. Paraphrasing is a technique to where I can keep the emotion flowing in a session with my client. There are different forms of paraphrasing. One form used is to repeat...
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