Many people may assume that listening is a benign or passive activity, but it actually requires concerted effort on the part of the listener.
When someone speaks, apart from uttering words, they also convey feelings and emotions (which might be very subtle and even hidden in their body language). To catch that you need to “really listen to people when they talk.”
Most people don’t by the way. In peer support it is required!
I have also heard it referred to as “emphatic listening.”
Empathy is the capacity to share or recognize emotions experienced by another sentient or fictional being. One may need to have a certain amount of empathy before being able to experience accurate sympathy or compassion…
In studying this science of deep listening, we have come to appreciate “active listening” more as an art than a science.
Active listening is also, oddly enough a communication technique used in peer support, training and conflict resolution, which requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.
Research shows that Peer Support is perhaps the most critical missing element in the traditional array of mental health treatment. It is based on mutuality and respect.
Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters, and can take a number of forms such as peer mentoring, listening, or counseling. Peer Support is also used to refer to initiatives where colleagues, members of self-help organizations and others meet as equals to give each other support on a reciprocal basis.
Peer support is distinct from other forms of social support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality.
In this way we can connect with others in ways only most people can dreamed of.
See related article: The power of “human touch” in peer support https://groundreport.com/the-power-of-human-touch-in-peer-support/