As I listen to my clients talk in their session, I often find themes throughout a single week. I may hear the same things or find myself saying the same things over and over throughout the week. I’ve referred to these as ‘Therapy Themes’.
Lately, I’ve been hearing the importance of being heard. They just want to be heard by whomever they are speaking with.
I hear them say that when they are talking with someone, telling them what they are going through or how they are feeling, the other tries to relate or solve the problem. They often scream when they say to me, “I don’t need a solution, I just want to feel heard!”
The following week, I found myself more attuned to my own and others’ responses to someone’s report of their feelings or struggles. Not once, was someone responded to with validation, but rather a related experience or attempted solution. I tended to see a sense of disappointment or hopelessness come over their face when given their response.
Are you listening to yourself and others?
I still struggle with listening myself when I am outside of my office setting, but I can truly see the power of listening and feeling heard. People don’t tend to actively listen for support or to support where I am, but are we communicating these thoughts and ideas effectively so people can hear and see us.
Here are some tools that I’ve learned to support my clients:
- Practice – opening your ears and keeping your mouth closed
- Non-verbal listening cues – nodding your head, leaning in, facial expressions
- Validating – ‘recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings are valid or worthwhile’. Relating your own experiences is not validation.
- Reflective listening – restating what was said (more on this to come!)
Are you a listener? Does it come naturally?
Are you effectively listening to yourself?
Think about your recent conversations. How did you participate? Were you an active listener or a quick responder?
Was this eye opening and thought producing for you? Comment below!
Do YOU want to feel heard?
Do YOU want to have an hour all your own?