Who listens anyway?


Several years ago Carl Rogers[1],[2] conducted some research with a series of studies on how people can be observed when they listen to people. He found that most responses could be categorized into five categories (used from most to least) as follows:

1. An evaluative is a response that has a "should" or "should not" or implied "should" or "should not" in the response.

2. An interpretative response is a response that is much like a translator might give, as it intends to tell the talker what he/she is really saying.

3. An supportive response is one that shows encouragement to the speaker.

4. A probing response is a questioning response.

5. An understanding  response is a restatement or paraphrase of what the listener believe he/she heard.=. ( paraphrase) [3],[4]

Read the following paragraph and see if you can write each type of response.[5]

" I don't know if I am normal. I get depressed because I don't have a great relationship. It seems I have tried so many times but nothing works out. I wonder if there is something a matter with me. Everybody else seems to have normal relationships. I just don't understand what is the matter."

                                                                        Type of listening response       

1. Understanding ( Paraphrase)

2. Probing

3. Supportive

4. Interpretative

5. Evaluative        


 1.David W. Johnson Reaching Out: Interpersonal Effectiveness and Self Actualization Boston: L Allyn and Bacon, 2003  p.234
 2. Don E. Hamachek, Encounter with Others: Interpersonal Relationships and You, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.1982, p.212
 3.Ibid., 213
 4. Op. cit., David W. Johnson, pp.224-229
 5. Op. cit., Ibid., David  W. Johnson, p.231>

Email: rbrehm@msn.com 
Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.