Issue 7: Attending and Active Listening
Listening in a therapeutic or helping relationship is a much more active process than the behaviours we might get away with in our day to day interactions. No surprise then that this core skill is referred to as Active Listening. I often think of Active Listening as Listening on Purpose
Active Listening is central to the effective functioning of a helping relationship. Being truly listened to is key to the experience of being valued, understood and ‘allowed’.
Even when our role necessitates a strong education focus, Active Listening performs a vital function. As they say: ‘If you can identify, you can rectify!’. Listening properly to our clients helps us to provide the ‘right’ education for their needs.
Judy Gamble writes a great definition of Active Listening in her book ‘Counselling Skills for Dietitians’: ‘Active Listening …….is a dynamic process which involves the skill of attending, i.e. giving someone our whole-hearted attention.’ p60
Let’s pick up with this notion of ‘Attending’….read on!