The Power of Listening

listening rapport Jul 04, 2023

“Attention is the purest and rarest form of generosity.” Simone Weil


There has been an uptick more recently to teach communication skills to medical professionals, as feedback from patients has indicated that these patients “didn’t feel heard” by their health care providers. Many health care practitioners are required now to attend “communication training” which is usually a half day or sometimes a full day webinar, and teaches rudimentary “skills” like repeating the last two or three words that the patient said so that the patient somehow senses that they’ve been heard, because someone said what they said.


Patients know that they have been heard, NOT because someone parroted them, nor through someone summarizing what they said and said it back to them. Patients (better known as people) know that they have been paid attention to (which involves a lot more than just hearing and repeating and/or interpreting what they said) when someone takes the time to really listen, and hear what they say, as well as what they don’t say, as well as what his or her body language is saying, and when the practitioner actually exercises the ability to see and perceive things from the other’s perspective.


When was a time that you were really heard, from either a health care provider or anyone else, and what difference did it make for you?

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