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Reflective Listening

By KSU Counseling Services Staff

Preview Points

  • Reflective listening helps engage others in relationship building, creating trust, and fostering motivation. It takes skill to do it well.
  • Listening breakdowns occur in three places: The speaker does not say what is meant. The listener does not hear correctly. The listener gives a different interpretation to what the words mean.

Contents

THREE LEVELS OF REFLECTIVE LISTENING:

  1. Repeating or rephrasing—The listener repeats what is said or paraphrases what was said, staying close to what the speaker has said
  2. Paraphrasing—The listener makes a big restatement.
  3. Reflection of feeling—The listener emphasizes the emotional aspect of communication.

STEPS TO LISTENING CAREFULLY:

  • Focus on feeling words.
  • What is the context of the message?
  • Observe body language.
  • Develop empathy by asking oneself: “If I were having that experience, what would I be feeling?”
  • Validate the individual’s thoughts and feelings.

Concluding Points

  • Reflective listening enhances a person’s ability to connect with others.
  • Reflective listening requires a fair amount of skill and practice.

© All staff articles are used by permission of the respective author(s). Copyright belongs to the University Life Café. No part of this may be used without authorization.

Reflective Listening (pdf)