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Being a Better Listener

          February, 2018

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Masters Degree - Applied Psychology from Seton Hall University


Post-Masters Degree-Marriage and Family Therapy from Seton Hall University


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist


Private Practice 

since 2008


Married 29 years


Mother of 2 young adult daughters 


Passionate about 

what I do



We have all heard that communication is the most important thing in a relationship.  We have all heard that listening is an integral part of that communication.  But what does it mean to listen? That skill is innate in some of us and it is a struggle with others.  No matter where you fall on the spectrum of listening, read below to either check your current skills to confirm that you are a good listener, or you might pick up some new knowledge that could make your relationships with others be even more meaningful.

Please pass along to family and friends who may be interested in the monthly content of this newsletter. Creating a web of knowledge helps those in need.
Maryellen Dabal, MA, LMFT
305 Miron Drive 
Southlake, TX 76092
Missed previous newsletters??
Go to www.dabalmft.com.  Click on the newsletters link at the bottom of the home page. Enjoy.....
From The Positive Perspective......
Skills to Being a Better Listener
  • Be ready to listen. Be sure that neither of you are angry, hungry, distracted or tired.  These outside issues can interfere with your ability to concentrate on what the other person is saying.  Give undivided attention.  Put the phone down.  Look away from the computer.  If you are not in a position to listen intently, let the other person know and schedule the discussion for another convenient time for both of you.
  • Nonverbal messages are just as important, if not more, than verbal messages.  Give the eye contact that shows you are ready to understand what the other person wants to say. Face the individual and get comfortable so you are able to listen.  If you are doing an activity together, it is understood that eye contact may be different.  Be sure the other person is comfortable with doing the activity at the same time as talking and if not, you both decide, which is more important, the activity or the conversation.  Make that decision together.
  • Practice makes .....better... not perfect. We have this sense that we have to be perfect at everything.  Not sure about your world, but in my world, that is impossible.  I strive, rather, to be my best at whatever I am doing, not necessarily to be perfect.  The more you practice something that is new and different, the more comfortable it will become.  I stress this point with clients all the time.  They are doing something new....be patient with your skill.  It will get better, the more you practice.
  • When someone wants you to listen to them, they are letting you know that they have something important to share with you.  While it may not be an important subject to you, it is to them, so give that person the respect they deserve in trusting you with that information. We are all not passionate about the same things.  We don't have to be.  But if you care enough about the person you are talking to, be an active listener because they are excited about sharing something with you. We want someone to listen to us when we are explaining something we are passionate about, right?
  • Is it my job to fix or just to validate as a listener? Many individuals are not trained in listening for the sake of listening.  Many can tend to listen when there are problems to solve, but will tune out when there is no official job to be done or problem to solve. Remember that in a good relationship, you are accomplishing something when your partner feels understood... and you don't even need a tool to do it.... just your heart and your attention.
  • Many of our senses are not as sharp near the end of the day as they are earlier in the day.  Even if you are a night person, the evenings can be tough to give someone full attention as thoughts from the day can linger.  The more unfinished business from the day you have, the less likely you will be to give someone the attention they are asking for.
  • Active Listening vs Hearing.  Listening involves actually understanding the other person and the message they are trying to convey to you.  Hearing is a simple process where sound is traveling from one individual to another without meaning.  Listening involves giving good feedback to the person in the format that it is asked for.  Listening involves being involved in the conversation mentally and emotionally.
  • Don't hurry the conversation.  It is common in our world today to rush things just to get to the next thing.  When good listening occurs, you are not focused on your response to the other person, ('Hurry up with what you have to say because I have something to say.") What you focus on instead is the content and meaning of what is being said to you.  Then you can take a pause and create a response that works for you. 
While this is just the beginning of good communication, listening is an integral part of any strong relationship.  I look forward to getting feedback from you on how the listening is going. 
Until next time.....look at life and your inspirations  From The Positive Perspective.

Stay well.
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I welcome feedback regarding the newsletter or questions about my practice.  I can be reached at maryellen@dabalmft.com .  I cannot, however, give advice through email. For more information on my practice please visit my website: www.dabalmft.com

I wish you well...