Can You Hear Me Now? Teaching Listening Skills

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Abstract

Topic: This column provides an overview of methods for training to improve service provider active listening and reflective responding skills. Purpose: Basic skills in active listening and reflective responding allow service providers to gather information about and explore the needs, desires, concerns, and preference of people using their services—activities that are of critical importance if services are to be truly person-centered and person-driven. Sources Used: Sources include the personal experience of the authors as well as published literature on the value of basic counseling skills and best practices in training on listening and other related soft skills. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Training in listening is often needed but rarely sought by behavioral health service providers. Effective curricula exist, providing content and practice opportunities that can be incorporated into training, supervision, and team meetings. When providers do not listen well to the people who use their services, the entire premise of recovery-oriented person-driven services is undermined.

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