Compassionate Listening

Even as a psychologist, I often don’t know what to say.

Especially now with so many people experiencing pain and trauma in escalating ways.

So rather than assume what someone needs, I have learned over the years to ask one simple question:

How Can I Support You?

Dr. Andrea Dinardo Empathic Listen

In doing so, I create a safe space for healing and acceptance.

Something we all need right now, more than ever before.

Unconditional love and support.

To be witnessed. To be heard.

All good conversation begins with listening.

Only then can we transformed by what we learn. 🌎💞

Video of Post ⇒ Click Here

47 thoughts on “Compassionate Listening

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  1. So true…Dr Andrea
    Listening…getting a feedback matters so much in communication…
    Unfortunately most people confuse hearing with listening…
    A patient listening is a great healer…
    And yes space matters …space for others to put across their mind…

      1. I visit your psychology page often because I find your articles very interesting and practical..

        1. Thank you Krish! That is my intention for my global psychology classroom. To share tips and strategies for using psychology daily. In bite size pieces. Only then will we have the capacity to maintain both personal and universal change. One. Day. At. A. Time. 📖🌍

  2. The art of listening is sooo important for exactly what you said… to be validated and to be heard, as everyone’s experience/feelings need to be acknowledged.

  3. Good idea. We do, rush to give advice.

    I could be a much better listener.

    After how can I support you until trust is established and addressed adequately

    My next question in the conversation

    How can I get you to take action everyday

    What support and tools do you need.

    Purpose, energy, direction

    1. Well Said Marty! Listening = Assessment & Understanding. With no personal agenda in mind. Only then can we truly support what’s required for next steps and action. #mindful #listening

  4. Listening takes the focus off us and puts it on the other person. That’s respect and true love of another. And by nature, I think we’re all fixers. Make it better. Make the pain go away. When listening really is what most all of us really want–to be heard for what we have to say, what we feel. Thanks for this,

    1. Amen Dayle! I couldn’t have set it better. The beauty of “creating space” in leadership and friendship conversations is that it takes the pressure off both parties. Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Andrea

  5. Thank you Andrea for those reassuring words as things in uk change by the day somehow but 🙏 managing to ride the storm.
    Hope all is well with you ❤️💁🏻‍♀️

  6. Thank you Andrea. I’ve recently seen and understood the value of asking and listening, especially for the charged topics of racism and #BlackLivesMatter. May peace, love, and understanding prevail.

    1. How did you know? I wrote this post with #BlackLivesMatter in mind as I will never assume to know what my black students need. Instead, I invite them to share how I can best support them in their growth and learning. That’s when the teacher becomes the student. Full circle education. My favourite kind. 📖🌍

        1. Thanks Brad! Wishing you a wonderful Saturday.

          No matter what’s happening in 2020. May you continue to find peace and healing in nature. Because ultimately, there is no better totem of what’s true and lasting, then sunshine, fresh air, and birds singing.

          Earth has been in existence for 4.54 billion years after all .. versus our measly 100 year life span (if we’re lucky). An ode to the power of mother nature that you capture so brilliantly in your writing!

          1. Thank you Andrea. I’m touched that you find that in my writing. The scale of nature is so vast, it’s hard to comprehend and write about at times. And yet, she shares simple beauty and truth.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support Brigid. From what I can tell from your blog and your book, you’re the type of person who holds space for everyone. Wishing you equal healing space for yourself. Hope your weekend is sun and fresh air in that beautiful Irish garden of yours! Andrea xo

  7. Dear Dr. Andrea, loved your message and video!! What a great idea to hold space for another through asking the question “How can I support you?” This one definitely comes in my tool-box- I agree that these months can leave one speechless when dealing with friend/ loved ones in pain. It´s ok not to be ok… thank you! Much love💖

    1. Wonderful knowing the message arrived right on time! The beauty of “creating space” in leadership and friendship conversations is that it takes the pressure off both parties. Similar to seeking support from our parents, our bosses, our significant others, we all want the same thing: A Witness. To Be Heard. We already know (for the most part) what to do. It’s the validation and heart centered part that we’re all searching for.❤️❤️

      1. Thanks so much dear Dr. Andrea, this is a wonderful insight and message you are sharing with me! I love it. Thanks for all your wisdom and kindness! Feeling seen (and heard) is key and so healing, right. And its surely an art form to learn to be a great listener who knows how to hold space! ❤️❤️Much love

  8. Sometimes it’s my turn and sometimes it’s someone else having a turn at a crap day, week, year… We might not be able to do anything for the person going through it, but to listen and sometimes not even that. Tired, run down or over worked people especially know the feeling of not having the luxury of offering the ear to listen. I’m only one person, you are only one person and we can only do what we can, no more, no less and do our best to live with that.

    1. Great point about taking turns! Relationships that are one sided (e.g., my dad talks nonstop and never lets you get a word in) are not sustainable over time.

      On the other hand, relationships that give equal time to each others ideas are likely to flourish over time in both the opportunity to grow and be replenished energetically.

      On of the ways we make that happen in both our home and with our friends is to have a “talking stick” (anything will do.. a spatula or coke bottle) and only the person holding it has “permission to speak”.

      It’s a hoot! I dare you to try it. Double dare you. hee hee

      1. Sounds like your Dad has lots to say, does he feel listened to?
        Anyways, I’m probably not the type to want to literally hold the conversation via an object, but if works for you. The double dare thing isn’t me either. I’ve my own acquired taste in what works for me, thanks for the idea though.

        1. No problem! It’s good to consider all perspectives. Whether they work or not. The beauty is ultimately the choice is ours.

          p.s. My Dad is too busy talking to care if we’re listening. 😉

    1. What would you say is the biggest deterrent to you NOT listening to a friend or family member? Eg. 1) rushed 2) repeated complaining 3) your own stress and anxiety. Because I think it’s also important to be mindful and aware that the person you are trying to share with might not be in a good place to listen.

      Something I talk about in one of my psychology speeches. “Ask permission before you ‘unload’, e.g., is this a good time, is there a better time”. Because depending on the subject, the person in front of you might be triggered. Which is exactly why people would hire a psychologist or a psychology coach like me.

      We are trained to listen without bias. 🖤🌎❤️

      1. I agree sometime professional therapy is necessary.

        I have got much better at listening, as I realised I was doing all 3 derrenants. But, now i just listen and let them speak. And if i can help i speak, or i listen. Or as i had cognitive therapy once in my life i suggest that.

        I feel in life, not everyone can understand the issues, and life experiences differ. So going to friends can be the biggest mistake ever.

        Both videos are very interesting

        1. You always shed so much light on the topics. Thank you for continuing the conversation. Literally! And for taking the time to watch and reflect. I am a big proponent of cognitive therapy btw. I can see why you would suggest it. Enjoy the rest of the weekend my friend!

  9. Thank you for your support and encouragment, Andrea. Your words mean a lot to me, especially your closing remark. I needed to hear it tonight. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Always! 💖

      Love knowing the message arrived right on time Nora. And to echo what I said at the end of the video: Wishing you a week filled with lessons and blessings. And no matter how tough life gets – there is no doubt that you’re tougher.

      Something shines through in all your writing Norah. 💻💞

      1. Thank you, Andrea. I always feel inspired after reading your posts and watching your videos. They always seem to hit the mark.

    1. Thanks Saania!

      I thought you enjoy some additional reflection & discussion points —

      For example:

      1) are you fixer vs rescuer vs listener as described in the video above ☝️


      2) how does your unique approach to listening (or not listening) relate to the current pandemic.

      Your answers & insights will help strengthen your listening and conversational skills.

    1. Thanks Christy! Listening is your superpower. This ^ is I witness in you. Essential for all the people you have interviewed for your magazine articles over the years. What’s your personal tip for being a great listener?

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