Empathic Listening is a necessity for any Empath. Sure you have the ability to feel what they are feeling, but the act of empathy goes deeper than just this. This is the key to Empathic Counseling, whether you do it online or in person, whether you are reading their words or physically listening to them. Because without this skill, everything else is moot.
The Definition of Empathic Listening
Empathic listening is defined as: a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It enabling the listener to receive and accurately interpret the speaker's message, and then provide an appropriate response. It is also called active listening or reflective listening.
The Benefits of Empathic Listening
Here is a list of benefits that arise through empathic listening.
1. builds trust and respect,
2. enables the one in need to release his/her emotions,
3. reduces tensions,
4. encourages the surfacing of information
5. creates a safe environment for sharing and problem solving
The Process of Empathic Listening
1. Give the person you are connecting with your full attention. Remember that the person in front of you is your sole focus at this singular moment in time. Multitasking, is a great thing, but not appropriate when working empathically with another person, particularly when practicing empathic listening. Their problem is in your hands, so your understanding and your time are reversely in theirs.
2. Do not speak when the other person is in the middle of communicating their issue. Empathic listening means that it is your job to actually hear what is being said, and reach to the heart of the topic to achieve full understanding of the situation. In doing this you need to find out specifics such as who is involved, what the actual problem is, and what are the extenuating circumstances that circle the problem. All of this information goes to help you give the best informed resolution you can find. Without it, perhaps through the act of not listening closely enough, you might miss an intrinsic part of the problem.
3. Offer a summary of what you have heard to the speaker, when they are done talking. This means you take what you have heard and reword it, offering them a summarized version of what they have said. It need be no more than an outline going over all of the most important key points of their problem. This affirms to them that you were listening, and reaffirms to yourself what you heard.
Steps of Empathy: Empathic Listening
This is the first step in Empathy. But it is taken to a different level for an Empath. As the speaker is talking, the Empath, because of their abundant imagination, has the ability to literally place themselves in the shoes of the other person, and see through their eyes. This is just like what one does when reading a book written in the first person perspective.
So the Empath is seeing and feeling, based on the words of the speaker and the emotions they are emanating. This gives the Empath understanding on a couple of levels, one being the emotional level, and the other being their motivations.