How we use active listening in Occupational Therapy:
When working with clients, our Occupational Therapists find that an important aspect of their jobs is to really listen to what their clients are saying. This is an essential part of understanding who that person is and how they view the world, which has a big impact on how their therapy may progress. We work to find out what is most meaningful to them and use that knowledge in our planning of their treatment. One of the tools we use in occupational therapy Dyer, to accomplish this is active listening. Active listening is a great skill for everyone to have, and is especially important when interacting with seniors.
Active listening involves using certain conversational techniques which lead to a better understanding of each other. Some of these techniques are:
- Restating or paraphrasing what you heard the other person saying.
- Summarizing the pieces of what the person is saying to check for understanding.
- Encouraging with brief prompts such as “uh-huh”, “oh?”, and “I see”.
- Reflecting the other person’s words in feeling terms.
- Emotional labeling is trying understand and put words to the feelings they are expressing.
- Probing or asking questions to draw the other person out and get more meaningful information.
- Validation is acknowledging the other’s viewpoint on their issues and feelings. Also acknowledging them for their courage for talking about a sensitive subject.
If you can use even some of these strategies, you will find that you are hearing more of what your conversational partner is saying. Active listening can improve not only your occupational therapy outcomes, but all your relationships.