Updated: Jan 23
One of the most frequent challenges clients come in with is communication issues in the relationship. The individuals do not feel heard or understood by each other which leads to conflict and resentment or shutdown and withdraw. Both of these things create a wedge in the relationship which leads to continued conflict. One way to prevent these negative patterns is through reflective listening. There are 2 parts to this exercise, The speaker, and the listener. This exercise has a strict format including an I statement on what emotion you are feeling, a Why statement that avoids blame, and an expression of needs. The listener will repeat back (word for word to prevent assumptions and misinterpretation) what was stated and then ask, "is that right" and"is there more." this ensures you understand and gives your partner the opportunity to continue sharing if needed which helps them feel validated and heard. after one person has completed their thought and it was repeated back correctly you will stitch. This is the most basic way of completing this task and will add in additional steps in the example below. Below is a quick tutorial on how to complete the reflective listening exercise.
Speaker: Share sentence by sentence focusing on your emotions and avoiding accusations
Listener: focus on hearing what your partner is saying not what you are hearing
Speaker: when I walk into the kitchen and it is a mess I feel I am not valued or cared for. I feel upset and angry. (PAUSE)
Listener: I hear that when you walk in the kitchen and it is a mess your feel uncared for and not valued, angry and upset. Is this right? ( if this is not right the speaker will correct the listener and the listener will repeat the new statement) Is there more? (this gives the person time to share any other feelings they are experiencing.
Speaker: Yes I don't want to feel like I am the maid of the house, I need you to clean up after yourself.
Listener: you don't want to feel like the maid and need me to clean up after myself. Is that right? is there more?
You then can switch if the speaker does not have more