Tips for the Street: Active Listening

One of the most important skills when interacting with a person who is experiencing a behavioral health crisis is active listening.  The good news?  Anyone can do it!  Here are six phrases you can use to help:

  • “Do you mean . . .” the makes sure you understood what they were trying to say
  • “It sounds like . . . “  another way to provide clarification and demonstrate empathy
  • “Really?”  this phrase demonstrates encouragement to keep speaking and elaborate
  • “I’ve noticed that . . . “ by pointing out observations you are demonstrating you are paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication
  • “Let me make sure I have this right.”  Summarizes what you have heard the say to validate you have been listening and understanding.
  • “I’m sorry.  That really ___.” Name the situation (stinks, is terrible, must hurt) to verbally acknowledge how crummy the situation is to validate their emotions.

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