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SUPPORTIVE LISTENING SKILLS - The Sixth Effective Living Skill Set ~ Blog # 17

Updated: May 20

Why Are Supportive Listening Skills Important?

Supportive Listening Skills are essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships. Listening helps us to understand and connect with others. It is more than just hearing what a person says. Effective listening involves focused attention, direct eye contact, reflection of another’s feelings, and validation. It also involves a desire and willingness to listen and understand another, instead of merely trying to get our point across.

GENTLE QUESTIONS: When we pause and take time to ask thoughtful questions, we convey caring for another person. It is important to listen to the person’s response to our question. Gentle questions may be simple or they can be complex. A simple question could be, “How are you liking your new job?” A more difficult question could be, “How are you dealing with your father’s unexpected death?” Our body language needs to be accepting and non-judgmental when we ask gentle questions.

REFLECTIVE LISTENING: Reflective or active listening is important in building good rapport with another person. It involves a conscious effort to understand the thoughts and feelings of the one to whom we are listening. A major part of reflective listening is to tentatively reflect back what we believe the other person is feeling.

Example: Sally raises her voice and says, “I can’t believe he totally forgot yesterday was my birthday.” A reflective listening response could be: “You must feel hurt and be pretty angry with him.” This would allow Sally to correct the listener, if her feelings were something different from hurt and anger. Reflective listening also conveys empathy for the person to whom we are listening.

PARAPHRASING: Paraphrasing is simply summarizing the main points you understand from listening to another person talk. It gives the other person an opportunity to correct misunderstandings

you may have had, and it is often helpful to hear what another person thinks they are saying. It is especially helpful when someone talks for an extended period of time.

Example: Tony talks for ten minutes about how his boss mistreated him at work. His friend paraphrases by saying: “It sounds like you are angry at your boss for several things. First, he had approved you having Saturday off, and then he changed his mind. Second, he gave you an ultimatum of working Saturday or losing your job. And on top of that, he didn’t even apologize for saying you had to work when you had made plans with your cousin to go fishing that Saturday. Am I missing anything?”


How to Access the Self-Study

This is the sixth blog related to the Effective Living Skills Self-Study. Each self-study skill set has a study sheet and a worksheet that you can access by going to the Self Study section at the top of the home page. Just click on the related PDF and you can print or download the study material. You can also print a certificate of completion with you name after completing each of the ten skill sets.

Steve Daily, LP ~ Psychologist 5/12/20



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