𝖆𝖈𝖙𝖎𝖛𝖊 𝖑𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖓𝖎𝖓𝖌 is simple in concept but at times, difficult to execute. As a queer couples therapist in Oakland, CA, I often coach clients and provide opportunity to use 𝖆𝖈𝖙𝖎𝖛𝖊 𝖑𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖓𝖎𝖓𝖌 skills. 𝖆𝖈𝖙𝖎𝖛𝖊 𝖑𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖓𝖎𝖓𝖌 is listening with the intention of deeply understanding another person 𝕒𝕟𝕕 helping another person ✨feel✨ you are fully present to hear about and understand their experience.
That means if you are multitasking, waiting to share your own experience, debating the facts, or ping-ponging (see this blog post), you're not doing 𝖆𝖈𝖙𝖎𝖛𝖊 𝖑𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖓𝖎𝖓𝖌.
If you start experiencing dysregulation, becoming defensive or shameful, you may not be in a place for 𝖆𝖈𝖙𝖎𝖛𝖊 𝖑𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖓𝖎𝖓𝖌. You may need to take a break and come back when you are ready to hear and understand another person.
Learn to rephrase what the speaker is saying so you communicate understanding (and give opportunity for clarification):
"I'm hearing you were hurt and you would prefer if I ___"
Learn to ask questions that increase your understanding in benefit of the speaker:
"What was your experience when I did__"
"So, you're saying you felt __, how can I better communicate? "
Learn to skillfully use short phrases like:
"That makes sense"
Learn to skillfully express empathy with phrases like:
"Do you need to be helped, heard, or hugged?"
"I'm so sorry you experienced that"
"How can I help?"
Learn to skillfully include:
Looking for a queer couples therapist in Oakland, CA? Learn more here. Yes, straight couples welcome, too!
How to become a better listener
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.