Paying close attention to a conversational partner’s words, repeating back key ideas and phrases from time to time to confirm one’s understanding of what the person has said. Demonstrates respect for, but not necessarily agreement with, the other person’s feelings and views. Crucial for effective therapy, mediation, and related interactions.
Example: A woman is telling her therapist about a fight she and her husband had several days ago. The therapist interjects periodically to paraphrase what the woman has just said, demonstrating investment in the conversation and concern for the client’s feelings: “So you felt like you tried to talk to him rationally about things and he blew up at you. That must have been tough.”
Grinnell, R. (2008). Active Listening. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 26, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/2008/active-listening/