(Homage to Carl Rogers – the best listener there ever was)
‘When people are listened to sensitively, they tend to listen to themselves with more care an to make clear exacty what they are feelng and thinking.’ - Carl Rogers
Effective, yet gentle probing and listening, allows for the other person to do most of the talking (Afterall that is what they are paying for.) Good questions must be centred on the other person’s experience in order to be meaningful. In order to fully hear what the client is saying, sometimes just responding with questions for clarity, or repeating back the understanding or outlining the dilemma, helps a person to dig a little deeper; revealing their own answers. The counsellor is just the sounding board. It is the client that is the expert on their own life. This beautiful therapeutic alliance can open up ideas, solutions and acceptance.
Empathy by design, evokes in us deeply-felt responses from our own life experience, which is why clients (myself included) prefer older counsellors with life experience. The power of change must be with the client, not the therapist; moreover, a person-centred counsellor will work give the client the lead.
‘Listening, when it is open and non-judgemental, is a way of validating others and becomes a powerful force in human relationships. It can build teamwork, trust and a sense of belonging to a group.’ - Madelyn Burley-Allen