Active listening is a dynamic process that includes:
Hearing is different from listening. Hearing
is a physical process. A person can hear what another person is saying without
listening to the message.
Listening is an active process of thinking
about the meaning of the message that was heard. Sometimes two people do not
interpret what they hear in the same way. A person's interpretation may vary
according to personal values, beliefs, and past experiences.
Active listening requires the listener to check with the speaker to
make sure that the message is interpreted in the way it was intended. To listen
actively, a person needs to pay attention to the behaviors and tone of the
Active listening takes practice. When you want to actively listen to
When actively listening to a teen, it is important to understand that
teens often think others are watching and judging them. They may need
reassurance that you are listening and that you are not judging them. It is
also important to be genuine with teens. They can spot an insincere adult. Do
not try to be a buddy with a teen. Teens do not like it when adults in their
lives try to act like teens themselves.
When listening to teens, pay close attention to how the teen is
describing the situation. Make a mental note if you think he or she does not
understand what is happening. When the timing seems right, clarify any
misunderstandings the teen has about the situation.
October 17, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Sidney Zisook, MD - Psychiatry
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