Have you ever left a counseling session feeling really good about the results? If so, perhaps you also found yourself thinking that your counselor was a good listener. There are good reasons behind your thoughts and feelings. Counselors are listeners first and foremost. They can’t do what they do effectively without giving their full attention to their clients.
Listening is something we strive very hard to do at Relationships & More. We put a lot of effort into it because we know that a good marriage counselor is also a good listener. We know that counselors have to be attentive. Rather than listening simply to respond, we have to listen in order to try to understand the words, thoughts, emotions, and intentions of the speaker.
People Don’t Listen All That Well
Modern culture tends to define hearing and listening as two different exercises. Most people understand hearing as the physical experience of sound waves entering the ears and causing a reaction in the brain. Listening, on the other hand, is an attentive action. It is making the effort to not only hear, but also understand what is being heard.
It has been estimated that people retain between 17% and 25% of what they hear. That is not a very good track record. In any conversation, we tend to listen only to the first little bit of what the other person is saying before our brains begin formulating a response. Everything said after that point is not absorbed because we are not really listening.
A good marriage counselor cannot do that. They have to listen attentively to everything the client has to say. Only then can the counselor even begin to formulate a response. As a side note, this is why good counselors are often described as being thoughtful and purposeful. They do not interject while the client is speaking. When it is time to respond, they have to think about what they are going to say – because they were not thinking about it earlier.
Learn from the Marriage Counselor
We would bet you aren’t a marriage counselor yourself. Still, you can learn a lesson here. That lesson is this: you can work on making your marriage relationship stronger by working on being a better listener. Just don’t hear what your spouse says. Make an effort to listen to every word. Let everything your spouse says sink in before you formulate a response. You might even determine that no response is necessary.
The reality is that misunderstandings between couples often arise because the two parties do not really listen to one another. Instead, they talk at one another. They think more about what they are going to say than what the other person has said. What appears to be mutual conversation is actually two, individual and one-sided conversations taking place in the same space.
If You Do Need Counseling
It can take time and effort to learn how to be a good listener. In the meantime, we invite you to contact us should you feel as though you and your spouse need marriage counseling. Our counselors are ready to lend a listening ear. We are here to help you talk things out, uncover the root causes behind the troubles you and your spouse are experiencing, and come up with workable solutions.
A good marriage counselor is also a good listener. We trust you will find our counselors are the best listeners you have ever spoken with. We know how critical listening is to providing sound counsel, so we work very hard at listening more than we speak.