Mar 16, 2010

What Is Active Listening and How Do I Do It?

What is this Active Listening and how do you do it? It is a way of listening to acknowledge the reaction of the person to being confronted by your I-Message. Here are some reactions of others to I-Messages and appropriate Active Listening responses:

"How would I know it would effect you."
--> "You're saying you would have no way of knowing." (Active Listening)

"I'm sorry you feel that way."
--> "You're sorry that I feel upset." (Active Listening)

"I didn't do it, Victor did it."
--> "Oh. You know what it was Victor, not you (Active Listening)

"It's not what it looks like. You're making a big fuss out of nothing."
--> "You think my feelings are not justified." (Active Listening)

"I couldn't help but be late...I had a flat tire."
--> "Oh. It was out of your control?" (Active Listening)

As you can see Active Listening is a verbal mirroring of the other's reactions to your Confrontive I-Message. It is sometimes called "feeding back" the others response to show that you understand the other's response and to convey that you are not simply out to get your need met at the other's expense. And you may not always want to abandon your needs, yet you do want to understand the other's response to your confrontation. This can often lead to both of you finding a good no-lose situation to the problem.*

*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Adult Resource book

1 comment:

  1. As an instructor of P.E.T. and mother of 4 teens (5 children in all), I use active listening several times a day. I can't say enough of how much this leads to teens opening up and sharing their thoughts, feelings and opinions. Of course, this only works if you follow a non-punitive parenting style. It's amazing how close it has brought us. Not one door slammed in our house or not one "I hate you!"
    Judy Arnall


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