Psych M.D. - Active Listening


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Term: Active Listening
Definition (Myers): Empathetic listening in which the listener echoes, restates, and clarifies. A feature of Rogers' client-centered therapy.
Definition (alternative): Active listening is form of listening and responding that focuses the attention on the speaker. The listener must attend to the speaker and then repeat what he or she thinks the speaker has said. The listener does not have to agree with the speaker--he or she must simply state what they think the speaker said. This helps the speaker to find out whether the listener really understood. If the listener did not, the speaker can explain some more.This alternative definition is from http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/treatment/activel.htm.
Contextual explanation:

  • Active listening is a part of Carl Rogers' client-centered therapy.
  • He defined hearing as echoing, restating, and seeking clarification of what the speaker had meant or expressed in both a verbal and nonverbal way.
  • Active listening is an accepted part of therapeutic counseling practices.
  • The listener/ counselor only interrupts the speaker/ patient in order to restate what he or she has heard and receive the clarification of what the patient had meant.
  • Counselors merely provide a psychological mirror for the patient to see himself or herself clearly.
  • Active listening and unconditional positive regard work together in order to create an environment where the patient feels accepted and safe.
  • Major factors of active listening:
Paraphrasing- summarize the speaker's words in your own words to check if you have understood the patient correctly.

Clarification- ask for examples and encourage the speaker to say more on the subject.

Reflection of Feelings- say what you think of the subject, it should be relevant to the speaker and his or her feelings; also check body language and facial expressions.

Related terms and concepts:
  • client-centered therapy

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Edited by: Courteney



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