I don't want to forget this skill of therapeutic listening and communication techniques because it improved my relationships with everyone at the time when I was consciously practicing the skill. I still need to practice. So, to help me recall what I've learned, I'm going to summarize it and share it with you today.
It's a useful technique to practice with family members and strangers alike, helps to resolve communication problems, improve relationships, and grow as a human being--listen deeply to what isn't stated.
STEP 1: LIMIT YOURSELF TO THESE THERAPEUTIC TECHNIQUES
Accepting EX: "It makes sense you feel that way" "That's understandable
Translate words into feelings EX: I'm way out in the ocean -->"You seem to feel lonely"
Encourage expressions of feelings EX: What are your feelings about that?"
Making Observations EX: "You sound angry" "You seem tense"
Validating perceptions EX: "This is what I heard you say...Is that right?
Verbalize the implied EX: Are you feeling no one understands?
Silence (With Empathy)
Active Listening (Be aware of your posture/nonverbal cues)
Brief Disclosure followed by return to client's issues
Broad Openings EX: What would you like to talk about today?
Clarifying EX: I'm not sure I understand...Help me to understand?
Encourage Comparison EX: Have you had similar experience before?
Focusing EX: Let's foucs on your feelings rather than your husbands"
Forming a plan of action EX: How might you handle it differently in the future?
Offering self EX: I'm interested in what you think.
Open ended questions EX: Tell me about your family
Paraphrasing EX: So far we've discussed...
Reflecting EX: I think I should tell her BETTER: Do you think you should tell her?
Voicing Doubt EX: "I'm not sure that's possible. From my experience..."
STEP 2: AVOID!!! AVOID!! NONTHERAPEUTIC TECHNIQUES
Agreeing/Disagreeing EX: You made the right decision.Better: "How do you feel about it?
All knowing EX: I understand how you feel Better: It makes sense you feel that way.
Belittling Expressed feelings EX: Everybody gets down in the dump sometimes BETTER: You seem upset. Tell me.."
Challenging EX: You didn't mean to say that! BETTER: You must have been upset to say that!
Changing the topic EX: I don't have anything to live for-->STAY with the feeling/explore
Close ended questions
Defending EX: Nobody would lie to you. BETTER: Let's clarify
Giving advice EX: "I think you should" BETTER: What do you think you could do?
Imposing personal values
Inappropriate self disclosure EX: When someone tells you their story, you tell them a worse personal story. BETTER: No disclosure, translate words into feelings
Leading question EX: Do you drink because you're depressed BETTER: Tell me what you're feeling when you need a drink
Parroting EX: Frequently repeating what someone is saying to a point of annoyance
Patronizing EX: Come on honey, eat this. This is yummy food. BETTER: May I help you with your meal?
Probing EX: Tell me how you feel about your mother now that she's dead
Rejecting EX: I dont want to hear about that. BETTER: Let's look at it a little more closely
Requesting an explanation EX: Why did you do that? BETTER: Tell me about your feelings before that happened
Cliches/Stereotyped comments EX: Everything will be fine BETTER: This was really bad news
Using denial EX: Of course you're somebody. Everyone is! BETTER: You're feeling that no one cares?
STEP 3: RECORD THE CONVERSATION PROCESS-->Spend a few hours going through the conversation. Look at the conversation and analyze the verbal/non-verbal cues and give yourself points for when you use only Therapeutic Listening. Also analyze when and why you used nontherapeutic listening and Avoid it next time.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL STEPS: To begin to understand where someone else is in the continuum of human experiences, look over Erikson's psychosocial stages. Here's a handy dandy chart.
Finally, you're ready to start classifying disorders. Invest in DSM-V. You'll start diagnosing everyone. Literally, everyone!
Grim, T.(2014). N477--Psychiatric Mental Health Concepts for Broad Clinical Application. UNC-Chapel Hill.