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Empathy Movement Home > Reflective Listening Links
Be like a mirror - reflect back what you think, feel and sense that the speaker is saying and feeling.

Work to clear the mirror so that you can reflect more clearly.


The different types of listening skills used in human communication: (Wikipedia)

  1. Active listening

  2. Appreciative listening

  3. Dialogic listening

  4. Informative listening

  5. Reflective listening

  6. Workplace listening



Empathic Listening - By Richard Salem -

"Empathic listening (also called active listening or reflective listening) is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It is an essential skill for third parties and disputants alike, as it enables the listener to receive and accurately interpret the speaker's message, and then provide an appropriate response. The response is an integral part of the listening process and can be critical to the success of a negotiation or mediation. Among its benefits, empathic listening

  • builds trust and respect,

  • enables the disputants to release their emotions,

  • reduces tensions,

  • encourages the surfacing of information, and

  • creates a safe environment that is conducive to collaborative problem solving."


Active Listening by Carl R. Rogers and Richard E. Farson  *****
"Active listening does not necessarily mean long sessions spent listening to grievances, personal or otherwise. It is simply a way of approaching those problems which arise out of the usual day-to-day events of any job.

To be effective, active listening must be firmly grounded in the basic attitudes of the user. We cannot employ it as a technique if our fundamental attitudes are in conflict with its basic concepts. If we try, our behavior will be empty and sterile, and our associates will be quick to recognize this. Until we can demonstrate a spirit which genuinely respects the potential worth of the individual, which considers his sights and trusts his capacity for sell-direction, we cannot begin to be effective listeners"


"The active-listening approach, on the other hand, does not present a threat to the individual’s selfpicture. He does not have to defend it. He is able to explore it, see it for what it is, and make his own decision about how realistic it is. And he is then in a position to change."

"Like other behavior, listening behavior is contagious. This has implications for all communication problems, whether between two people or within a large organization. To ensure good communication between associates up and down the line, one must first take the responsibility for setting a pattern of listening. Just as one learns that anger is usually met with anger, argument with argument, and deception with deception, one can learn that listening can be met with listening. "


(Has a section on "Problems in Active Listening:)  Active listening is not an easy skill to acquire. It demands practice. Perhaps more important, it may require changes in our own basic attitudes. These changes come slowly and sometimes with considerable difficulty. Let us look at some of the major problems in active listening and what can be done to overcome them."

1. we risk being changed ourselves…
2. changes the way we view ourselves

3. must have since interest in the other.


Reflective listening - Wikipedia

"Reflective listening is a communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand a speaker's idea, then offering the idea back to the speaker, to confirm the idea has been understood correctly. It attempts to "reconstruct what the client is thinking and feeling and to relay this understanding back to the client". Reflective listening is a more specific strategy than the more general methods of active listening. It arose from Carl Rogers' school of client-centered therapy in counseling theory."

 "Summarizing what the speaker said, using the listener’s own words. This is different than paraphrasing, where words and phrases are moved around and replaced to mirror what the speaker said. The reflective listener recaps the message using his own words."


Active listening - Wikipedia

"Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.

The ability to listen actively demonstrates sincerity, and that nothing is being assumed or taken for granted. Active listening is most often used to improve personal relationships, reduce misunderstanding and conflicts, strengthen cooperation, and foster understanding. It is proactive, accountable and professional"





Appreciative listening  - Wikipedia

Appreciative listening is a type of listening behavior where the listener seeks certain information which will appreciate, for example that which helps meet his/her needs and goals. One uses appreciative listening when listening to good music, poetry or maybe even the stirring words of a great leader.


7 Tips to Improve Your Active Listening Skills [With Examples]
Andrei Kurtuy

  • What Is Active Listening?

  • 7 Tips to Improve Your Active Listening Technique

  • Benefits of Active Listening

  • Active Listening in Practice - 5 Examples

  • 10 Active Listening Skills


Dialogic Listening:  "Dialogic Listening: Sculpting Mutual Meanings,"

"The authors contrast dialogic listening to active or empathic approaches. The dialogic approach has four distinctive characteristics.

First, it emphasizes conversation as a shared activity. Usually people focus their attention on their own views in conversation. Active listening overcompensates for this tendency by overemphasizing the need to focus attention on the other's views. In contrast, in dialogic listening the focus is on "our" views and the emerging product of the conversation."


Second, dialogic listening stresses an open-ended, playful attitude toward conversation. The authors note that modern Western culture values "hard" thinking which produces certainty, closure, and control. Speculative, metaphoric, ambiguous thinking is generally devalued. Dialogic listening seeks to recover and tap into the productive creativity of this "softer" style of thinking. In contrast to the "hard" style of most conversations, the "soft" style of dialogic listening requires modesty, humility, trust, and a robust recognition of the other party as a choice-maker.

Third, in dialogic listening, the parties focus on what is happening between them, rather than each party focusing on what is going on within the mind of the other. Stewart and Thomas say, "instead of trying to infer internal 'psychic' states from the talk, when you are listening dialogically you join with the other person in the process of co-creating meaning between you."

Finally, dialogic listening focuses on the present (what we are doing now), rather than primarily on future goals (what we will do), or on past events (what we did then). Dialogic listening requires that one be fully present to the process and one's conversation partner. This attitude of being-in-the-present helps each party to unify his or her actions, intentions, and speech. It can also ameliorate power differences."

Dialogic Listening

Dialogic listening is an alternative to active listening which was developed by John Stewart and Milt Thomas. Dialogic listening has four distinctive characteristics.  

  • First, it emphasizes conversation as a shared activity.  It encourages people to attend to their own views--and the other person's views--at the same time, while active listening focuses primarily on the other person's views alone. 

  • Second, it takes an open-ended--the authors even say "playful"--attitude toward conversation.   It demands modesty, humility, trust, and recognition of the opponent as a choice-maker. 

  • Third, the parties focus on what is happening between them, not what is going on in the mind of one or the other person. 

  • And fourth, dialogic listening focuses on the present, rather than on the future or on the past.

Active Listening
"Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Often when people talk to each other, they don=t listen attentively. They are often distracted, half listening, half thinking about something else. When people are engaged in a conflict, they are often busy formulating a response to what is being said. They assume that they have heard what their opponent is saying many times before, so rather than paying attention, they focus on how they can respond to win the argument.

Active listening is a structured form of listening and responding that focuses the attention on the speaker. The listener must take care to attend to the speaker fully, and then repeats, in the listener=s own words, what he or she thinks the speaker has said. The listener does not have to agree with the speaker--he or she must simply state what they think the speaker said. This enables the speaker to find out whether the listener really understood. If the listener did not, the speaker can explain some more."

First, close your mouth; then open your heart By Gail Reichert
How well do you listen? Listening is a key leadership skill identified in many leadership  competency models, either explicitly, or embedded under the general domain of  communication. ‘Of all the time we spend in communication, by far the greatest is spent in listening.’ - Types of Listening

"Many types of listening - There are many names for different types of listening. Here is a collection of types and the different names that get ascribed to them, along with a brief description of each."

It is said that we have two ears and one mouth, which is a good hint for the proportion in which we should use them. However, the art of listening is not a widely practiced skill. Listening provides much useful information, yet good listening skills are not that common.



Culture of Empathy Builder: Stephen Covey

Using Empathic Listening to Collaborate - Stephen R. Covey.

"When I say empathic listening, I am not referring to the techniques of "active" listening or "reflective" listening, which basically involve mimicking what another person says. That kind of listening is skill-based, truncated from character and relationships, and often insults those "listened" to in such a way. It is also essentially autobiographical. If you practice those techniques, you may not project your autobiography in the actual interaction, but your motive in listening is autobiographical. You listen with reflective skills, but you listen with intent to reply, to control, to manipulate.

When I say empathic listening, I mean listening with intent to understand. I mean seeking first to understand, to really understand. It's an entirely different paradigm. Empathic (from empathy) listening gets inside another person's frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they feel..

In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel."




Active Listening (

  • Reflective listening has its roots in the fields of counseling and psychotherapy, particularly in Carl Rogers's "client-centered" therapy. 

  • Expressed verbally and nonverbally though messages such as "I follow you," "I’m with vou" or "I understand," empathy is the listener's effort to hear the other person deeply, accurately, and non-judgmentally. A person who sees that a listener is really trying to understand his or her meanings will be willing to explore his or her problems and self more deeply.


This really is truly the single most important verbal skill that you will ever learn in your whole entire life.

  • Teachers and Parents use more than any other skill. And this Reflective listening goes under many different names or identities, such as 

    • The Empathic Ear

    • Active Listening

    • The Understanding Response

    • Verbal Pacing

    • Paraphrasing


The Skill of Reflective Listening - with children

  • Why is Reflective Listening important?

    • Show that feelings matter

    • Show that it is possible to talk about uncomfortable or complicated feelings

    • Show that we care about the child’s feelings

    • Teach the child that all feelings are acceptable, even though certain behavior is not

    • Defuse an uncomfortable situation

    • Reduce a child’s urge to act out because the child feels heard

    • Teach the child a vocabulary for articulating how they feel

    • Reduce whining, anger and frustration

Motivate people


Reflective Listening - The main principles of reflective listening are:

  • Listening before speaking

  • Deal with personal specifics, not impersonal generalities

  • Decipher the emotions behind the words, to create a better understanding of the message

  • Restate and clarify how you understand the message

  • Understand the speaker’s frame of reference and avoid responding based only on your own perception

  • Respond with acceptance and empathy


Reflective Listening: Reflective Listening Exercise.

  • Ask participants to Pair up.

  • Select an issue on which you have differing opinions…either a work related issue or a social issue. It is important that you choose an issue about which you have differing opinions, because that’s when it’s the hardest to listen to each other.

  • Begin your conversation with one person sharing their perspective on the issue. The spotlight stays on that person until they indicate that their partner clearly understands their perspective.

  • Caveat: When you are communicating your point of view, share a few ideas and then let your listener clarify. Then continue sharing more ideas.

The Benefits of Empathic Listening
"Empathic listening (also called active listening or reflective listening) is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It is an essential skill for third parties and disputants alike, as it enables the listener to receive and accurately interpret the speaker's message, and then provide an appropriate response. The response is an integral part of the listening process and can be critical to the success of a negotiation or mediation. Among its benefits, empathic listening

  • builds trust and respect,

  • enables the disputants to release their emotions,

  • reduces tensions,

  • encourages the surfacing of information, and

  • creates a safe environment that is conducive to collaborative problem solving."


When you listen well," Burley-Allen

  • acknowledge the speaker,

  • increase the speaker's self-esteem and confidence,

  • tell the speaker, "You are important" and "I am not judging you,"

  • gain the speaker's cooperation,

  • reduce stress and tension,

  • build teamwork,

  • gain trust,

  • elicit openness,

  • gain a sharing of ideas and thoughts, and

  • obtain more valid information about the speakers and the subject."


Reflective Listening - David B. Rosengren
It is vital to learn to think reflectively. This is a way of thinking that accompanies
good reflective listening that includes interest in what the person has to say and
respect for the person's inner wisdom. Its key element is a hypothesis testing
approach to listening. What you think the person means may not be what they
really mean. Listening breakdowns occur in any of three places:

  • Speaker does not say what is meant

  • Listener does not hear correctly

  • Listener gives a different interpretation to what the words mean

There are three basic levels of reflective listening that may deepen or increase the
intimacy and thereby change the affective tone of an interaction. In general, the
depth should match the situation. Examples of the three levels include:

1. Repeating or rephrasing – listener repeats or substitutes synonyms or
phrases; stays close to what the speaker has said
2. Paraphrasing – listener makes a major restatement in which the speaker’s
meaning is inferred
3. Reflection of feeling – listener emphasizes emotional aspects of
communication through feeling statements – deepest form of listening


Active Listening is an Effective Listening Skill and Strategy

Theories of Communication: How to Listen Actively:

  1. While the other person is talking – you must concentrate on not talking. Pay attention. Look directly at the speaker.

  2. While the other person is talking – listen, don’t prepare your reply. Focus hard on this and practice listening, not responding.

  3. Ask for time to respond if you need it (a few minutes, later, tomorrow).

  4. Pay attention to how the person is behaving (e.g. yelling or screaming is a pretty clear indicator, but not all behaviors are that obvious).

  5. Pay attention to the person’s body language.

  6. Demonstrate that you are listening: use your body language to affirm that you are listening, e.g. nod your head or shake your head.

  7. Paraphrase or translate what the person said; reflect it back to them. This is called reflective listening – you reflect back what you think you have heard, it is a good technique for ensuring there is clear understanding.

    • For example, in dealing with angry customers focus on how you think they feel: "So that I’m sure that I understand clearly, you seem to be frustrated with our shipping time..."

    • Another example, in dealing with a question from an employee: "I want to make sure I understand your request clearly; you need to work shorter days due to your school schedule."

    • You are not necessarily agreeing with their position, you are re-stating what they said to ensure understanding and clarity.

  8. Recognize the individual’s feelings: "you seem to be frustrated"; "you sound angry"; "you seem to be upset"

Effective Listening Skills - An essential for good communication (

To conclude, effective listening enhances the communication quality. It makes all attentive. It  encourages optimistic attitude, healthy relations and more participation. It leads to better decision- making in an organization. Effective listening is directly related to our ability to do team work. It must be noted that “We listen at about an efficiency rate of 25 percent maximum, and we remember only about 50 percent of what is delivered during a ten minute speech/lecture/communication.”


Active Listening  (
Summary of Benefits of Active Listening
All of the personal qualities at the disposal of the listener can be brought to bear more effectively by employing the technique of Active Listening. It is a formidable method of simultaneously communicating and helping, and a far more powerful tool than its simple name suggests. When it is used skilfully, Active Listening can:

  • Demonstrate the listener's undivided attention

  • Encourage the client to continue speaking

  • Restart a completely stalled narrative

  • Reassure the client regarding self-disclosure

  • Confirm the listener's understanding – or…

  • Correct errors in the listener's understanding

  • Fill any gaps in the content of the narrative

  • Improve the listener's overall understanding

  • Improve the client's insight into the issues

  • Demonstrate the listener orientation to the client

  • Progressively build rapport between listener and client


How to Have Successful Group Meetings (
Barriers to Listening
There are many barriers to listening attentively and comprehending verbal communication. First unchecked emotions can play a large role. Anger, fear, and depression can effect how one might listen to the speaker. Also called emotional noise, this might cause listener apprehension. For example, talking with a professor can be frightening, which might cause poor listening. Being self-absorbed can also affect listening. Thinking about yourself or your next comment stops your focus on the speaker. Language differences will cause a strain on listening and comprehension. Also, external noise and verbal clutter can be very distracting and will cause attention shifts among the listener. If the listener is not interested or the information is not wanted, boredom can occur. Information Overload can cause the listener to remove him/herself mentally from the discussion. Also, Information rate will cause boredom or attention shifts.... (Guidelines for Good Listening).

  • Information overload

  • Unchecked emotions

  • Semantics

  • Noise and verbal clutter

  • Boredom

  • Information rate

  • Attention shifts

  • Listener apprehension

Active/Reflective Listening Skills - lesson plans
Students will identify types of communication styles, explain active/effective listening skills, and demonstrate the ability to use active listening skills.

  • roll playing

  • don't have patience's

  • simple and engaging


KID SMART: Learning to Listen - lesson plan (
Reflective listening is a skill that parents can use to improve communications with their children.
When parents demonstrate that they understand their children’s feelings, children are more likely to be open with  their parents and talk to them about problems or things going on in their lives.





Empathy is most effective when it matches the person's feelings, thoughts, and meaning. In essence, feelings become interchangeable. However, if the peer support giver intensifies the feelings by adding to what the person says, a deeper level can be reached. For example, if the person says, "I feel so down today," the peer support giver can move more deeply if he/she says something like this: "You feel really sad today." When "sad" is used instead of "down," intensity is added, which allows the person to admit he/she is "sad." Often feelings having a negative aspect are difficult to admit, and so when the peer support giver suggests an emotion, it is somehow easier for the person to admit. An important occurrence is that, as the person talks about feelings, she/he actually feels them. It becomes difficult not to feel anger, for example, when it is talked about.


    • 1. are an active listener paying attention not only to how something is said, but also to what is said;

    • 2. reflect feelings by identifying and intensifying them;

    • 3. do not block communication by ordering, advising, moralizing, excessively reassuring, bombarding with questions, arguing, criticizing, withdrawing, and interpreting.


Active Listening -

"Active listening is a structured form of listening and responding that focuses the attention on the speaker. The listener must take care to attend to the speaker fully, and then repeats, in the listener's own words, what he or she thinks the speaker has said. The listener does not have to agree with the speaker--he or she must simply state what they think the speaker said. This enables the speaker to find out whether the listener really understood. If the listener did not, the speaker can explain some more. Often, the listener is encouraged to interpret the speaker's words in terms of feelings...


Active listening has several benefits.

  • First, it forces people to listen attentively to others.

  •  Second, it avoids misunderstandings, as people have to confirm that they do really understand what another person has said.

  • Third, it tends to open people up, to get them to say more.

When people are in conflict, they often contradict each other, denying the opponent's description of a situation. This tends to make people defensive, and they will either lash out, or withdraw and say nothing more. However, if they feel that their opponent is really attuned to their concerns and wants to listen, they are likely to explain in detail what they feel and why. If both parties to a conflict do this, the chances of being able to develop a solution to their mutual problem becomes much greater."




Imago Therapy


What is Imago Therapy?

Founders of Imago Therapy, Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. explain what Imago Therapy is and how to do it. You can learn more about Imago Therapy and Dialogue and ways to make your marriage or relationship even better at

Imago Relationships International Video Channel - various videos on the topic.


Transform Your Relationship - Part 7: The Couple's Dialogue




Harville Hendrix - Imago Therapy for Couples Counseling: Part four
Work on couples relationships as the core of social change. It was the loss of empathic resonance that causes the disconnection.









Active Listening




Reflective Listening





Reflective Listening -- A Powerful Skill!



Two Truths About Reflective Listening





AMAZING technique to improve Empathic Listening - Dr. Stephen R. Covey - Indian Talking Stick
"You've got the talking stick"




Active Listening


Leadership Training - Active Listening

The skill of reflecting back the meanings and feelings of group members in order to test out the leader's understanding of their messages (empathic listening). Carl Rogers referred to it as "reflection of feelings."


Effective Listening Skills




Understanding Approaches: Person Centred and Process Experiential Emotion Focused Therapy
Professor Robert Elliott of the University of Strathclyde


The Person Centered 'Nation' approach split into (Tribes)

  • Classical Relational Person Centered - Carl Rodgers - warmth, empathy, congruence

  • Experiential therapist - what is the clients process - how they change

    • Focusing - Gene Gendlin - look inside your body and feel things

    • Process Experiential Approach - (emotion focused) Less Greenburg, Robert Elliott - markers for change

    • Pre therapist - not in contact with reality - physical reflection

    • Gestalt Dialog -

    • Doesn't mention it but Nonviolent Communication seems like an offshoot

    • etc.



Children Focusing ** - being seriously playful with René Veugelers
has model of inner listening and being reflected.. The reflection gives you time and space to connect with what is going on inside of yourself. Seems to relate to self-empathy, connecting and feeling more deeply into your body.


René Veugelers - "Children learn:

  • to trust their deep inner sense of rightness

  • to bring their awareness to the inside of the body

  • to know that it is helpful to listen to bodily feelings

  • to make a stronger connection with their inner bodily awareness"

  • more



 "The Interactive Focusing Process is a forward moving edge of Focusing, incorporating Focusing into the building of relationships. Through the Interactive Focusing Process, we are able to develop empathy and compassion as well as self-empathy and self-compassion. We finally have a "how to" teach empathy and compassion using the Interactive Focusing Process."


Interactive Focusing - Storyteller as Teacher **

  • Reflective listening, getting to the deeper qualities.

  • I want to be listened to with empathy and compassion.

  • They have 4 building blocks

    • 1. Right environment - safety

    • 2. The body felt sense

    • 3. Compassionate - empathic listening from the bodysence

    • 4. Storyteller as teacher

      • The idea of the "Storyteller as teacher!"

      •  I'm teaching the listener how to listen to me. (love this)

      • Strategies to help the listener be a better mirror for you.

        •  Say, 'You got the words but is not the feeling.'

        •  There's a continuous feedback loop - the speaker is resonating back to the reflector if they were heard the way they want to be heard.

        •  I'm teaching the listener how to listen empathically to me.

        •  this is so simple but is a key peace.

        • the story teller is the best teacher

        • This approach is very empowering for the listener and for both people. The listeners can feel tense since they feel it's a bit of a test for them to get it right. I know it is for me. Others have said the same.  It can make you tense - but it doesn't need to be. In their process before, the emphasis was on the listener to get it right. But now it's on the speaker to assist the listener to be a better mirror. If we need to be heard, it's perhaps a certain quality of hearing that we want. We're working together so that we're getting empathically heard. Maybe it's team work to clear both peoples mirror.

        • What we're doing in this part of the empathy circles is mirrored empathy.  What are the qualities of mirrored empathy? How can we be better mirrors. Conflicts, misunderstandings, etc can cloud the mirror. It's not just mirroring the words, but the the feel, the tone, the intentions, etc of the other. I'm standing in front of the mirror, cleaning and polishing it so that I can see myself reflected in the other. They are doing the same in me.

  •  They want their process to be very experiential way of teaching the listener.



Introduction - Interactive Focusing

Introduction - Interactive Focusing Process

Standard Focusing and Interactive Focusing

  • The foundation is speaking from the bodily felt sense

  • Interactive Focusing Steps

  • Storyteller and listener

    • The storyteller shares and then comes to a 'resting place'

    • The Double Empathic movement.

      • Listener trying to get how it was for the speaker

      • Take a special moment - the listener concentrates on getting the bodysence of the speaker.

      • The speaker checking in on themselves. At the same time, the speaker goes inside of themselves to their felt sense.

    • Switch roles

      • what was touched in the listener about what the speaker

    • Another Double Empathic movement.

    • At the end, Post sharing, do a relationship check.  Check in the moment.  how am I with me and how are you with me. Ask the person,  "how are you with me now?" I've shared about me, you've shared about you. How do you feel about me now? How do I feel about me that I've said all this about me? This is very important with the relationship.

    • [how about adding some body movements of the felt sense and having them be reflected. - what are we trying to do with the reflection. people the fire together wire together?]

Interactive Focusing makes room for
 empathy in a way heretofore not explored, both through the experience-by-experience healing listening and the empathic moment. Healing listening is bodysense-to-bodysense communication. The empathic moment is the "golden moment" of the interaction, the moment of concentrated, deepened empathy during which the entire relationship often shifts.

The model includes a relationship check which I call an anomaly in relationships -- the feared and simultaneously desired checking in with one another to see where you are in the relationship with each other and with yourself in this new moment after having shared yourself so deeply. It is a model of balance. It is non-authoritarian and non-hierarchical."

" relief for the therapist/listener . . . who is relieved of the ever present feeling in many therapists that they need to be "perfect listeners."


Interactive Focusing Format


Person-centered Therapy

Person-centered therapy - wikipedia
also known as person-centered psychotherapy, person-centered counseling, client-centered therapy and Rogerian psychotherapy. PCT is a form of talk-psychotherapydeveloped by psychologist Carl Rogers...
 goal of PCT is to provide patients with an opportunity to develop a sense of self wherein they can realize how their attitudes, feelings and behavior are being negatively affected and make an effort to find their true positive potential In this technique, therapists create a comfortable, non-judgmental environment by demonstrating 

  • congruence (genuineness), 

  • empathy, and

  • unconditional positive regard toward their patients while using a non-directive approach. This aids patients in finding their own solutions to their problems

Although this technique has been criticized by behaviorists for lacking structure and by psychoanalysts for actually providing a conditional relationship. it has proven to be an effective and popular treatment...

  • Therapist Empathic understanding: the therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference. Accurate empathy on the part of the therapist helps the client believe the therapist's unconditional love for them...

  • Empathy -Understand and appreciate the client's feeling throughout the therapy session.

The British Association for the Person-Centred Approach
 "is an organisation that embraces and promotes the person-centred way-of-being: the striving to create relatonships based in genuine acceptance and empathic understanding."  more links


Relational Empathy: Beyond Modernist Egocentricism to Postmodern Holistic Contextualism

Maureen O'Hara - Center for Studies of the Person
Interesting empathy article




Constructivist Listening


Constructivist Listening for Empowerment and Change

"Constructivist listening differs from active listening in that the listener does not paraphrase or interpret the talker's thoughts or feelings. Although active listening is often useful in solving relational or organizational problems, interpretations by the listener usually interfere with the talker's fully exploring the thought or feeling, expressing emotion, and developing understanding. If the listener is allowed to interpret, he or she may, perhaps unwittingly, cut off the expression of feelings or manipulate the talker into avoiding emotions with which the listener is uncomfortable. Interpretation may also lead to the talker becoming dependent on the listener for meaning or approval. Constructivist  listening is not passive listening. "

The Constructivist Listening Dyad
"Purpose: To create a safe space to become better at listening and talking in depth. Constructivist listening dyads
help us as we work through feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that sometimes produce anger, passivity, undermine confidence, or cause interference in relationships with students or colleagues.



Microlab & Constructivist Listening Part 1

Microlab & Constructivist Listening Part 2




Well organized resources, lot's of information and perhaps a model for peer lead organizations and processes.

Co-Counselling International (UK)

"The site is primarily about CCI co-counselling in the UK. This site has information about CCI co-counselling generally and in other countries.

Co-counselling is reciprocal peer counselling:

  • Reciprocal: co-counsellors take it in equal turns to be client and counsellor.

  • Peer: everyone is equal, there are no "experts" trying to "sort out" other people.

  • Counselling: it is a bit like other forms of counselling in that one person listens while the other talks (or "works" in other ways), but there the similarity ends. It is the person being client who is in charge of the session and the person being counsellor mainly just gives very good attention."

Co-Counselling - is a reciprocal way of working that takes place between peers. It is based on an equal exchange of time and skills, with no money changing hands. Neither party is the expert: instead both have been trained in the same set of skills.


is a grassroots method of personal change based on reciprocal peer counseling. It uses simple methods. Time is shared equally and the essential requirement of the person taking their turn in the role of counselor is to do their best to listen and give their full attention to the other person. It is not a discussion; the aim is to support the person in the client role to work through their own issues in a mainly self-directed way."


Co-Counselling Manual

"Co-counselling is a method of personal development through mutual support for persons of all ages and both sexes including, with suitable modifications, children. It is not for those who are too emotionally distressed to give attention to a fellow human on a reciprocal basis. It is a tool for living for those who are already managing their lives acceptably by conventional standards, but wish significantly to enhance their sense of personal identity and personal effectiveness. It is part of a continuing education for living which affirms the peer principle." 

Co-counselling (9): What happens in a session






Counselling Roleplay - Reflecting, paraphrasing and summarizing only



Counselling Roleplay - Integrated Basic Skills

Counselling Roleplay - Asking only Open Questions






Other Notes To Sort:

Documentation as a form of reflection

  • see the documenting of the circles a a form of reflection

  • reflecting out onto a medium.

Reflective listening etiquette

  • When you get reflected, and the part you feel has been adequately reflected back to you, you can say  "I feel heard." You can then go on and share more.

  • When you feel you have said all that you would like to say, and that you feel satisfied that you have been fully heard,  and are ready to pass on the spotlight to the next person, you can say, "I feel fully heard! "

In Reflective Listening we are listening to;

  • words

  • values

  • meaning

  • shared meaning

  • underlying  energy

  • body language

  • behavior

  • Listen for Total Meaning.

The Arts as Reflection

  • use the arts somehow to reflect yourself and others

  • Johan Galtung says empathy is like an actor taking on the role of someone else. They become that person.

  • Some mimics can reflect or impersonate someone to an extraordinary degree

  • a painting as a reflection of someone's spirit.

  • Interview with Rob Kall, he says he mirrors peoples faces when he is driving to see what they are feeling

Design tools reflection

Replying with

  • state matching

  • motion matching

  • word matching

  • sound matching

Theory and Background

  • this is the foundation of Carl Rodgers work - we are building on that.

  • based on mirror neurons

    • based on mirror neurons - what we want to do

    • reframe and define the reflective listening in terms of mirror neurons

    • we are wanted to clean the mirror with reflective listening

    • we can reflect with out words

  • this is the core of the restorative circle process

  • once people have been fully heard and connected, action will flow out of it.

  • Mirroring  - find resonance tools - process

Reflective listening

  • your both sad

  • presence

  • where is the need for action?

  • action was something she wanted to do.

  • how to bring in simplicity?


Models of Reflection

Hammock Weaving

Intention: to build a culture of empathy?

Speaker 1 (speak) >
Speaker 2 (reflect) > 
Speaker 2 (speak) > 

Speaker 1 (reflect) > 


Focused on one person reflection

Speaker 1 (speak) >

Speaker 2 (reflect) > 
Speaker 4 (reflect) > 
Speaker 5 (reflect) > 
Speaker 7 (reflect) > 

Add Role Playing

Add Metaphors

  • the quality of the action can be reflected.

  • the other person is not reflecting

    • ask for a reflection

      • are you feeling me?

  • have a group where you can feel reflected.

Reflection on the

  • present feelings

  • past feelings

  • action feelings\\\