As a counsellor, I have found reflective listening is very important to help my clients. Reflective listening is hearing someone and comprehending what they are saying, then letting the other person know that they are being heard and understood by repeating the summary of what was said/ expressed.
In reflective listening, the listener tries to clarify and restate what the other person is saying. According to indeed.com, reflective listening is a communication technique in which the listener tries to understand the speaker’s idea and then communicates it back to them to confirm it was understood correctly. As opposed to most conversation techniques, which typically require the listener to provide a response to the speaker’s message, reflective listening requires the speaker to be able to reflect the speaker’s ideas and feelings as accurately as possible.
Here are some benefits of reflective listening:
1. The speaker feels validated. When the listener accurately repeats what the speaker said, the speaker will feel validated as that means the listener was listening to him or her attentively and their mind didn’t switch to other thoughts. It makes the speaker realise the listener was focusing on what they were saying, and this helps to build a rapport as well as make the listener feel heard and understood.
2. The speaker feels safe in the listener’s presence. Reflective Listening reassures the speaker that someone is willing to pay attention to their point of view and help them express their thoughts. They feel safe to share their thoughts more openly.
3. Helps to clarify the speaker’s thoughts, hearing their thoughts summarised and repeated can help to clarify the speaker’s thoughts and points of view. If the thoughts are jumbled up in the speaker’s head, then hearing them being restated in a concise manner can make them clearer.
4. Helps to correct misunderstandings if the listener has misunderstood or misinterpreted the speaker’s message, and incorrectly states the speaker’s message, it gives the speaker the chance to correct it. It makes sure the listener understands the speaker accurately and doesn’t make any false assumptions.