Friday, August 12, 2011


Exercise in Helpful Active Listening

Complete the following sentences.

I feel frustrated when you.......

I feel happy when you......

I feel rejected when you.....

Listen to your partner/friend/relative share their experience of frustration/happiness/rejection or whatever they are feeling.
Set a time limit of five to ten minutes each.

Ask questions for clarification only, do not interrupt until they have finished speaking.

Try to understand the feelings that they are expressing. It is not always about the issue that is at the surface, but respect it if they say that it is.

Draw out the other person's feelings. Ask them "how do you feel about that?"
or repeat some words "you feel angry about that" to show them that you heard what they said or just be silent, caring and attentive.

When the person speaking has finished they will hopefully be able to tell you that they felt listened to, tell you what helped about the way in which you listened and that they felt understood.

Reverse roles then and repeat the exercise so that both people have a chance to speak and be heard.

It may be tempting to interrupt the speaker but just remember that each person will have a chance, and it feels good to be able to speak knowing that you will not be interrupted. This exercise is done with mutual respect, and without accusations. Using "I statements" saying how you feel only ensures the safety of this exercise.

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