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Listening Skills and Empathy

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It is common for beginning counselors to acknowledge they are good listeners. This trait is often cited as a reason for pursuing a career as a counselor. What do you know about the relationship between being a good listener and employing empathy? In other words, what have you learned about the therapeutic process and building rapport that involves more than good listening skills?

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This solution discusses ways to augment listening skills.

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(1) What do you know about the relationship between being a good listener and employing empathy?

The relationship between being a good listener and an empathetic therapist/counselor is based on having good istening skills, and showing genuine concern and caring. For instance, in order to show empathy toward a client, the therapist must listen attentively to what the client is trying to convey. Savage (1996) suggests several techniques for developing good listening skills. Among them is the technique of paraphrasing. According to Savage, the listener is not concerned with emotions, but with what the speaker is communicating. Paraphrasing consists of the therapist repeating back to the client his or her words to make sure that his or her problem is clearly understood. As one technique that helps to improve listening skills, paraphrasing the client's words also helps to clarify the problem. Relative to empathy, by listening intently to what ...

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