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Interact with an individual using: a. active listening, b. reflective listening

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To achieve this assessment criterion, you will need to demonstrate to your assessor that you are able to interact with the individuals that you support, using active listening and reflective listening skills.

Active listening

Active listening is a communication skill that involves truly listening to what an individual is saying, without judgment or personal bias.

Some of the techniques involved in active listening include:

  • Giving the speaker your full attention – genuinely hear and understand what they are saying
  • Not interrupting the speaker – allow individuals time and space to speak freely and don’t rush to fill ‘awkward’ silences
  • Repetition/paraphrasing – repeating back what the speaker has said in your own words will demonstrate that you understand their point of view and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings
  • Ask open-ended questions – to clarify understanding
  • Observing other cues – body language, facial expressions and emotive language can provide additional information about the individual’s feelings
  • Being open and non-judgmental – be prepared to be put yourself in the speaker’s shoes and understand their perspective on a deeper level

For further information, the NHS has published a guide to active listening in relation to service improvement that is worth reading.

Reflective listening

Reflective listening involves responding to the speaker’s thoughts and feelings by reflecting or mirroring them. This demonstrates that you comprehend and empathise with what they are saying and can help them to feel valued, respected and understood.

Reflective listening is similar to active listening in that you should try to genuinely hear and understand what the speaker is saying and repeat their words back to them to demonstrate understanding.

A good source of information about active and reflective listening is this teaching note from Professor Yates.

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