So, speaking about listening, what is active listening?
Possibly, all of you are listening to this and you're passive listening.
You're sitting, you're watching.
Maybe you have your phone over here and you're scrolling.
You're not actually listening to what's going on in front of you.
As a therapeutic communication, when you are listening,
it requires a lot of energy because actively, you are engaged in listening - as a verb.
So what do you have to do?
You have two methods that you can engage.
One is verbal or using and speaking - using your voice in speaking.
And the other is nonverbal.
So let's take a little bit of a look at what verbal listening looks like.
Verbal listening is when someone says I'm not feeling so well.
I had a really hard night and I didn't sleep well.
And you say, "Oh, hmm." That's acknowledging that you heard. "Uh-huh. Oh."
You want to use these sparingly.
You don't want to be saying uh-huh or oh after every single sentence that someone says.
"Oh, so you had a hard night." And then wait, that's silence.
Now, nonverbally, how would I demonstrate that I am listening?
Well, we all know how to demonstrate that we're not listening.
The first one is this - having our phones out,
having something else that we're doing with our hands,
not having eye contact as long as that is the culturally acceptable way of listening.
But if I want you to know that I am listening, I might lean in a little.
And so I'm really trying to hear what you're saying.
If you are leaning in too much, it could be considered aggressive,
so you really have to know the person you are speaking to and lean in a little,
and you can even say to them, "Is this okay? Is this distance alright?
I'm just really interested in what you're saying."
If the person says, "You're a little close."
Allow them to establish the comfortable distance between you.
Make sure that you are open, that you're not listening to them like this.
Make sure that your facial expressions are ones that are in engaged.
It's quite obvious to a person who's telling a story
if you are thinking about what you're going to do as soon as you get off work
because what will happen is as you're listening to them,
your eyes will start to wonder and your head will tilt
because it's hard to listen to someone and have a completely different thought.
So, as long as it's culturally acceptable, you want to have eye contact,
you want to be comfortable distance from them.
You want to lean in and make sure that your body language is open.
One of the things that you also want to make sure is environmentally,
to keep in check any distractions that might be going on around you.
And ask, "Is this a good place to talk?"
If you are speaking to a patient in a hallway, it's probably not the best place to talk.
If you see a patient who's agitated, it may be the time to walk over
and say, "You know, I'd really love to talk to you. Is there somewhere that we can go?"
Perhaps in the day room or perhaps over by the nurse's station.
You want to make sure that there are no interruptions once you start listening,
so keep in check the time that you are talking to them.
I don't know about you, but if I'm telling something to someone
and it's really important and I suddenly see them go, I know that they're ready to move on.
They are no longer listening and they want to move on,
so make sure that you have to have no interruptions or something else that is pending.
If a person is sitting and they say they don't want to speak to you and you intrude into their space,
you're actually going to be increasing the likelihood of having a crisis intervention.
You want to make sure that the space around you,
the distance that you have from them is a good one,
and if they don't want to talk, remember that silence is okay and sitting by them is alright.
If they are talking to you, don't have facial expressions that actually look at them like, "What?"
Eye engagement and we often say, eyes are the windows to the soul.
If you start looking at someone
and you have this aggressive eye engagement that suddenly it's, "What?"
That other person is going to start telling you - stop telling the story.
If the person begins to shut down, if they say, "I can't answer your questions."
If you say that you are talking to them, let's say about a memory,
and you say, "Well, sometimes there's sadness that comes up there when I -
when you talk about that coffee you had this morning.
Is that also about your mother?" And you see them go, "Oh, oh, oh."
Don't say to them, "Come on, come on, come on." You know?
"I have ten more minutes, is that about your mother?
Or is that something else's going on?"
When you start to demand responses to someone who is collapsing,
you are going to shut them completely down.