Assignment 1: Attentiveness and Listening Skills

Assignment 1: Attentiveness and Listening Skills

In this module, you are tasked with practicing your attentiveness and listening skills. Remember that when done well, it communicates to the speaker that you are interested in what he or she has to say and eager to understand. In your regular conversations with friends, family, peers, and coworkers, apply what you are learning by practicing being attentive and using active listening by reflecting the content of what you hear back to the speaker. Be aware that this will likely be a change from your normal communication style and so may feel awkward at first. It will probably be an apparent change to those with whom you normally interact as well. Nevertheless, make note of the responses you receive. This can be especially powerful with children as you are giving them an opportunity to share honestly and openly by letting them know that you are interested in what they have to say and trying to understand what they are attempting to communicate.

Directions:

Use your developing attentiveness and listening skills in as many different interactions as possible in this module and notice the responses you receive. Pay attention to how similar or different the interaction is from your “normal” interactions with that person.

Tasks:

In a minimum of 400 words, post to the Discussion Area your responses to the following:

  • Describe your experience of practicing your attentiveness and listening skills.
  • What did you do well?
  • How can you improve those skills?
  • What was the reaction of those with whom you communicated?
  • How did using attentiveness and active listening impact the communication?
  • How will what you experienced be beneficial in a counseling session?

Support your rationale and analysis by using at least two resources from professional literature in your responses. Professional literature may include the Argosy University online library resources; relevant textbooks; peer-reviewed journal articles; and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (websites ending in .edu or .gov).

Your discussion posts and all written assignments should reflect graduate-level writing skills and appropriate use of APA style, including in-text citations and references.

Submission Details:

  • By the due date assigned, post your responses to the Discussion Area.
  • Through the end of the module respond to more than two of your classmates’ posts. Your responses should be of substantive meaning, and they should encourage further dialogue and discussion, encourage your classmates to think about other aspects of the topic, compare your responses to your classmates’ responses, or ask a relevant question to better assist you with your understanding. Responses such as “I like/I agree” or “I don’t like/I don’t agree” are not complete enough.
Grading Criteria
Maximum Points
Quality of initial posting, including fulfillment of assignment instructions
16
Quality of responses to classmates
12
Frequency of responses to classmates
4
Reference to supporting readings and other materials
4
Language and grammar
4
Total:
40

Answer

  • Describe your experience of practicing your attentiveness and listening skills.

For me the assignment came natural; every day my step children tell me about what happened in their day. I normally log this into my daily activity as a list of things to do. The connection is as always welcoming and the kids are eagerly ready to pour their hearts out.  I hear plenty of issues that they bring to my attention about their school and personal life. What I found hard to do is to keep track of all the information given from a teen. When teens tell information, it goes from me asking how their day was_ to what someone did last week, the new boy in school, being popular, the terrible friend fight, who sat with who at lunch, can I use the credit card, and so much more.

So often when I ask the child how your day is, I never just get one answer and I normally sit and the information is being given without me asking any questions lol. I find for me it’s hard to follow with so much being told. When I do try to step in and ask questions the conversation has been moved well passed the topic I am focused on. It’s hard to be attentive when you are faced with some confusion and you hear alarming things like your step daughter telling you she is thinking about sex because she likes a boy. I wanted to just remain on this topic instead of listening to anything else! It also became the only thing I cared about and the conversation shifted to me taking control and stating my issues with the reasoning. Now I will say that if this was someone else, its hard for me to stare them in the eyes for a long period of time. I find that its something I need to work on. The same with my step daughter she turns away at certain things she says. I would like some suggestions on this.

  • What did you do well?

I allowed the teen to speak without interruption to state everything that was bothering her, and I made a mental note of the sex comments on paper. I made sure not to cut her off and gave her my full attention without faces of judgment or anger.

  • How can you improve those skills?

If there is anything I can improve it would be not getting so worked up over shocking information. I think this advice is good especially when with a loved one. I need to learn how to accept alarming information of any kind. Normally when I hear something alarming, I go into motherly mode and want to fix the issues for others not giving them a chance to find their own way. This is with anyone not just my family. If I want to be an effective counselor, I have to let others figure out their own way. I should not in any way cater to them to fix the issues.

  • What was the reaction of those with whom you communicated?

My teen daughter was relieved as always when she can get things off her chest. She also was happy that she was able to speak with me in confidence. It’s difficult for her to express feelings so she is always happy to do so knowing that if we speak its safe. As a counselor this should be for my clients. I who have faced trauma; I understand how important it is to be heard in a safe place. From research I found thatclients often describe safe therapy as a place where they feel free to be themselves. A place where any emotion is possible and one is not punished for speaking the truth. One feels listened to, wanted, valued and validated. This makes one feel calm, and the body feels relaxed and aligned, ’true’. It is a relief to be heard and challenged gently. There is warmth of connection, rapport and compassion. Sometimes this experience is tinged with sadness because it feels so rare. This is because many trauma clients describe how, in their lives, they have felt unwanted, unheard, misunderstood and excluded. Some clients have had experiences where they felt trapped and wanted to escape, or tried to hide. Trauma often leaves people feeling profoundly unsafe and sometimes even life itself feels pointless (Woolliscroft, 2017).

  • How did using attentiveness and active listening impact the communication?

I have always been one to listen to others problems. I guess I could say by going into the activity knowing that I had to listen made it seem somewhat different. In this case, I was ready to receive information and even discovered something about my teen child that I hadn’t before. One thing that she kept saying that got my attention is that she wanted to be loved and it feels good to be card about. I never heard this from here before. She also appreciated that I asked her to talk to me instead of her usually coming in my room and her asking me am I busy first. I found that going to her made her feel special and my first priority.  She mentioned that she did not seem like a bother this time.

  • How will what you experienced be beneficial in a counseling session?

This experience has opened my eyes on how to be a great counselor. Feedback is always great to hear especially from the ones you love. I find that this experienced has taught me that my clients will be the same as those I love who just want to be heard and cared about. They want to feel loved; I think that just like my step daughter people need to feel like someone cares and they want to trust in someone to listen to their problems. I made a list of what I felt would make an individual a good counselor and this is what I came up with.

  1. Give the person speaking their full attention.
  2. Repeat the conversation back to them, in their own words, providing their interpretation or understanding of the client’s meaning (paraphrasing).
  3. By reflecting the content of what is being said back to the speaker, check their understanding of the message.
  4. Be as accurate in summarizing the client’s meaning as much as they can.
  5. Try again if their paraphrasing is not accurate or well received.
  6. Feed back to the client their feelings as well as the content (e.g. how did you feel when…? How did that affect you…? It looks like that made you really angry).
  7. Challenge in a non-threatening and subtle manner.
    1. Statement: “This is hopeless.” Paraphrasing: “It seems hopeless to you right now”.
    2. Statement: “There is nothing I can do”. Paraphrasing: “You can’t find anything that would fix it”.
  8. Not try to force conversation, allow silences — and be aware of body language, notice changes and respond accordingly.

 

Counselors should refrain from…

  1. Talking about themselves and introducing their own reactions or well intended comments.
  2. Changing topics and thinking about what they will say next.
  3. Advising, diagnosing, reassuring, encouraging, criticizing or baiting a client.
  4. Using “mm” or “ah ah” exclusively or inappropriately or parrot their words.
  5. Pretending to have understood the person or their meaning if they haven’t.
  6. Allowing the client to drift to a less significant topic, because they feel the counsellor doesn’t understand.
  7. Fixing, changing or improving what they have said — or finishing their sentences for them.
  8. Filling every space with talk.
  9. Ignoring their feelings in the situation.

References

(n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2017, from https://www.hopestreetcentre.org.uk/therapy-sandbach-cheshire/making-therapy-safe

4 Qualities Every Successful Counselor Has. (2011, December 30). Retrieved November 01, 2017, fromhttps://www.mastersincounseling.org/4-qualities-every-successful-counselor-has.html
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Author: drjaquettastevens

Dr. Jaquetta Stevens is a clinical research Study with a doctorate in psychology. She is a profound writer, entertainment promoter, successful business owner, Journalist and right’s activist and relationship coach. One of the most successful women in this time has come together to help those in the market of entertainment. After getting her degree in clinical research, Dr. Jaquetta Stevens has followed her dreams in helping individuals as a therapist. Many of the issues that she masters is mental illness in children and adults, marriage counseling, abuse, and addictions in many categories.

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