How to Listen to Those Who Hurt

A teenager on a cell phone is sad.

The ability to stop what you are doing and cease your current thought process in order to listen, effectively, is a skill that parents utilize to speak with their children, everyday. This is a skill that the staff at Trinity Teen Solutions learn and utilize in everyday life, as the patients here often have a great deal of internal pain. Addressing this pain begins with truly listening to what a person is saying, and it is essential to start the healing process.

The importance of listening at Trinity Teen Solutions

When completing checklists, to-do lists, and various notes and tasks throughout a day, often a girl will come into the staff office crying, or will ask to talk to a staff member, while starting to burst into tears. At Trinity Teen Solutions, all of our staff will stop all that they are doing, recognizing that the importance and dignity of human lives and emotions goes far beyond that of paperwork, and they listen to those who are hurting. This is a key aspect of what we do at Trinity.

Things to remember, when listening

When listening, it is not appropriate to assume the thoughts of the person who is upset, as you will often miss what is truly hurting them. Instead, it is appropriate to hear them out, ask if they are feeling any certain way because of something that may have happened, and move on from that interpretation of their feelings if it is wrong.

Skills for listening

Key skills for listening include eye contact, repeating back what was said, summarizing and affirming the feelings, and acknowledging that it is normal to feel hurt, scared, afraid, or broken. When a person feels heard and validated, it can bring them a greater sense of self-esteem and belonging, when they previously felt unheard and unloved in the moment.