What happens when you really listen: Rama Krishnamurthy

An integral part of communication is the need to be felt as heard, understood and even agreed upon with another’s point of view.  The ‘Power of Listening’ can have a transformative power in the difference it makes to the life of those who are sharing or talking about issues.   This increases the engagement quotient and leads to better individual awareness.


But ‘Listening’ takes place only when there is openness, with a non-judgmental attitude. It includes being there for the person with your full attention. This leads to trust and sharing of real emotions and thoughts.  


Counsellors, therapists, nurses, medical professionals, caregivers use the empathetic listening tool liberally. The speaker here is encouraged to express and repeatedly speak his thoughts and the listener is in total acceptance of the person while being non-judgmental and open. The listener hears out the speaker, get into the shoes of the speaker and possibly imagine the situation as well. What the listener can possibly use are tools of reflection, repetition and clarification as reciprocation.


In the case of crises intervention where people deal with emotional distress depression or suicide, an air of trust and rapport building with confidentiality are paramount. We believe that offering people the opportunity to be listened to in confidence in a stressful situation and accepted without prejudice can alleviate despair and build emotional health and well-being.  


Problems and causes can be varied and disparate. Causes can vary from person to person but generally, these are identified as family problems, chronic illnesses, property disputes and financial needs, marital problems, love affairs, unemployment, peer pressure, low marks in academics, drug abuse/alcoholism, etc.


Organizations such as Befrienders India has been able to reach out to more than 1 lakh people every year who are distressed, depressed and suicidal by offering emotional support to them while maintaining total confidentiality and complete anonymity. Over the past twenty-five years lakhs and lakhs of people have reached out to various centres of Befrienders India through personal visits, letters, emails and telephone for seeking help during crises. Our volunteers are trained in many of the techniques as professional counsellors, but they neither judge nor tell people what to do. By listening and asking questions, the volunteers help people explore their feelings and work out their own way forward.


If you or anyone you know or care or love are going through a similar situation, please reach out to the founders of Mitram, an organisation following the principles and practices of Befrienders starting soon at Bangalore. 

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