What is Active Listening in Social Care?


This is a question you may come across quite early into your health & social care career. Many see this question pop up whilst undertaking a course like a QCF Level 2 in health & social care.

Active listening is something many of us do on a daily basis, mainly subconsciously as we carry out our usual day to day activities. Active listening is, in fact, a very important method that should be utilised whenever you are working with service users, no matter their needs, gender or age.

So What is Active Listening?

Quite simply, active listening is a term used to define the way in which we communicate and or use body language when in a group or one to one discussion with another person. Active listening is about being involved, really listening and asking questions.

How Can I Actively Listen?

You can be actively listening to someone by paying close attention to the conversation, making eye contact, nodding your head in agreement and asking relevant questions.

Body language is an important aspect of active listening, if you are continually looking away from the service user, fidgeting or playing with your mobile phone, then this indicates that you are not actively listening and that you might not be interested in the service user and their opinions. Facial expression can give away whether you are truly engaged and actively listening, for example, smiling when you should be sad.

Alway remember that body language does not lie and gives a true reflection of what we are thinking and many people feel this instinctively.



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