Listening is a key skill
Listening is a is a core skill in all counseling and communication models and is learned skill that can be enhanced. There are many excellent listening models, although most seem to miss one or more important elements. The Conflict Science Institute has developed a client counseling-specific listening model based on conflict and relationship science principles. CSI’s model, Integrative Listening, seeks to identify all of the relevant elements of listening.
CUP of COCOA RNV – the elements of listening
- Reflect (on self and other)
- Nonverbal awareness
At the core of Integrative Listening, and the Integrative Client-Centered Model (ICCM), is a belief that most people don’t need a professional to tell them what they need or what they should do. People need to feel safe, and heard. When those needs are deeply met, the many neural systems in a human body can better integrate and people can then operate at optimal levels. In a client-counseling context, the goal of listening is thus to facilitate neural integration.
The next time you feel deeply heard, reflect on why and how being heard makes you feel. Does it help you to relax? Does it help you feel ready to open up to hearing something new? Does it help you be able to finally hear and consider someone else’s advice?
The next time you listen to a client’s story pick one or more of the 10 elements of CUP of COCOA RNV and utilize more than you ever have before. As clients tell you their story, they will almost always be missing some piece of information or context. See if you can identify what is missing and what the challenges are to having an effective communication between the two of you. See if you can allow the client to fully tell their story before you make any attempt to respond. And then, in the way you respond, see if you can be mindful to what the client is sensitive to and move the conversation forward.
Listening is a first step
While an enhanced listening skill is a powerful communication tool for professionals, knowing what to listen for and knowing how to help a client move to a new understanding of their issues are additional goals in the counseling process. The Conflict Model and 6-Step Change Process Model are two other CSI techniques to facilitate these professional goals.
Listening for Lawfighters
Listening skills and an understanding of conflict psychology are a powerful combination for Lawfighting™ skills. These allow lawfighters to hear what is not being said in client stories, and in cross-examination.
CSI offers training programs in listening, client communication, conflict psychology, and Lawfighting™ as an advanced course.