How to Listen, What to Say, and How to React
MELISSA ALLEN HEATH and ANNETTE JEROME
Offering emotional first aid to students and adults consists of knowing how to communicate effectively, and most importantly, how to listen. Good communication skills are not limited to counselors or psychologists. These skills are used every day in supporting students.
A basic list of effective communication skills is reviewed in this chapter. Some of these skills are easy to describe and require little explanation. However, others are difficult to describe and require more explanation. Good communication skills provide the means to strengthen and support students in need of emotional first aid. (Note: If you are reviewing communication skills in a staff training, use Overhead 3.1, “Fundamentals of Good Listening Skills,” at the end of the chapter.)
One of the most basic skills in listening is empathy. Empathy is often misunderstood. Some think empathy and sympathy are the same. However, sympathy means you are feeling sorry for the person; sympathy drains your emotional energy. Empathy gives you power—it means you are trying to understand the other person and how he or she is thinking and feeling. Empathy does not include feeling sorry for others. When you are assisting
Annette Jerome, PhD, School Psychologist, Hurst–Euless–Bedford Independent School District (Texas).