Empathic Listening: How To Listen With Your Heart And Create Deeper Connections

Summary: Empathic listening is a way of listening that involves trying to understand the other person’s perspective and feelings. It’s about being interested in understanding what the other person is saying and feeling, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak.

Empathic listening is a special listening technique that builds rapport between people. It’s a highly successful therapeutic strategy, supported by strong research that has demonstrated its effectiveness.

Counselors have practiced empathic listening for years, but it’s recently been growing larger into a more mainstream approach in both personal and professional areas. Empathic listening is a valuable skill to have in the workplace, and is incredibly useful for interpersonal relationships.

If you want to know more about what it can mean for you, then please keep reading.

What is Empathic Listening?

Empathic listening is about considering how the other person is feeling.

Too often, we are more concerned with waiting for a pause in the conversation so we can get our own point across.

This means that we do not listen properly to what the other person is saying.

Empathic listening requires you to listen more than speak.

This helps the listener to understand the situation from the speaker’s perspective, and is key to the success of the empathic listening process.

For more on the different types of listening, see this article.

Example of Empathic Listening

Here is a scenario of empathic listening, taken from an example of a student seeking counseling because they are having trouble dealing with their tutor:

Student (speaker): “All Mark does is hurl a volley of criticisms at me for an hour and a half every time I have a music lesson with him.”

Counselor (listener): “ That must be incredibly frustrating for you, especially at exam time.”

Here, the counselor has listened to what the student has said, and given them space to express themselves.

They then show that they understand and are attentive to how the student is feeling.

Empathic Listening vs Active Listening

Active listening is a method of listening closely to what the other person is saying. Then the listener restates what the speaker has told them.

Throughout the process, the listener gives verbal and non-verbal cues to show that they are paying attention. Empathic listening does this too, but it is more than simply a tool or method of listening.

The difference is that in empathic listening, the listener seeks to put themselves into the other person’s shoes and actually affirm and validate what’s being said.

Active listeners repeat back what the speaker has said as part of the process but empathic listeners make sure that they have understood the emotion behind what was said as well.

While active listening is often used to resolve an issue, empathic listening validates the speaker and how they feel. It is person-based, rather than situation-based.

Continuing the above example of a student who is unhappy with their music tutor, here is an example of active listening compared to an example of empathic listening:

“So, I understand that you are not happy with your tutor and that you might like to request a different tutor?”

Why Should You Practice Empathic Listening?

Empathic listening builds the relationship, rapport, and trust. This is a reciprocal process, because it is beneficial for both the speaker and the listener

Empathic listening does the following:

  • Makes you more sensitive to people’s feelings, and also more in tune with your own behavior and how you appear to others.
  • Helps to de-escalate conflict as it arises.
  • Involves really listening to the other person rather than just thinking about what you want to say.

Read the full article here: https://www.psychnewsdaily.com

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