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July 2021

Empathic listening: Reports on the experience of being heard

Journal/Book: J Hum Psychol. 2000; 40: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 148-173.

Abstract: This qualitative study explores empathic listening from the vantage point of 5 female clients engaged in consecutive therapeutic relationships with two different therapists, a male and a female. Previous experiences of being ''misunderstood'' or ''not heard'' stood in stark contrast to experiences of being empathically understood in their relationships with the two therapists. Participants experienced being heard when therapists created a safe space for self-exploration, were actively and genuinely engaged in the therapeutic dialogue (paraphrasing, clarifying, questioning, and remembering details), and did not flinch when painful material was brought to the therapeutic process. Each participant's experience of being heard was idiosyncratic and reflected something of what she had been missing in previous interpersonal encounters. Empathic listening emerges as a relational, interactional variable unique to each therapeutic encounter examined and not reducible to a technique or skill.

Note: Article Myers S, Univ New Brunswick, Fac Educ, POB 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 6E3, CANADA

Keyword(s): CLIENT


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