One on One
Assignment: One on One Deep Empathic Listening
Offer to Listen to Someone for One Hour
This assignment is to empathically listen to someone for an entire hour. If you are not able to find people to hold an Empathy Circle with, this could be an alternative exercise or in addition to that. You empathically listen to someone just like in the Empathy Circle, but for a full hour. So, to be clear, you are not taking turns like in an Empathy Circle but are just listening for the full hour.
You might say to the prospective speaker. "I'd like to offer to empathically listen to you for an hour. "
As the reason, you might say:
"I'm taking a course and this is one of our exercises. Would you help me out?"
"I'm trying to improve my listening skills and I'd like to practice my empathic listening skills."
"I would like to learn more about you."
Explain you intend to listen to without judgement, advice, agreeing or disagreeing, analysis, or diagnosing. You can offer that you may ask a question but will primarily just listen.
You can explain that it will be helpful if they pause periodically so you can reflect your understanding of what was said. "I may periodically ask you to pause so that I can recap or summarize what I have understood you are feeling and thinking. This is to be sure I am accurately understanding you. "
Let them know, "You can talk about whatever is on your mind".
Tip: It is best to do this with someone you are not in conflict with.
Report back on the approach you used to invite someone to be listened to and how it went.
Empathic Listening Examples
Here are some examples of empathic listening. You can watch these to see how others do it.
Empathic Listening by Carl Rodgers who developed the Empathic Listening Process.
These are examples of Carl Rogers doing Empathic Listening in a therapy counseling session.