Editor’s Note: In any caregiving situation, we remind our readers to remember the Caregiving Basics: Listen, Pray, Respect the Grief Journey and Preserve the Dignity. This post is an overview of Listen.

Good, empathetic listening is a caregiving guideline that is often taken for granted or overlooked, but it is often the most powerful way you can help a person who is suffering. One of our mission fields is right where we live every day. In that mission field we are surrounded by people who need our care. Listen to them. Help them tell their story. Help them express their feelings. You will be giving them a wonderful healing gift.

An empathetic listener is one who:
1. Gets involved.
2. Gives full attention to the one who is hurting.
3. Enters into that person’s feelings and suffers with the person.
4. Listens more than talks.
5. Speaks primarily to help the sufferer clarify his or her situation and feelings.
6. Does not interject his or her own problems, stories or advice.

For more stories and podcasts on listening, please visit our Caregiving Basics Listening page.

Photo credit: Simon Blackley, Flickr

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