Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Listening in Couple and Family Therapy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_190-1

Name of Strategy/Intervention

Listening in Couple and Family Therapy



Carl Rogers once described active listening as being “sensitive, empathetic, concentrated listening” (Rogers 1969). This type of listening is a cornerstone skill in client-centered therapy that involves nonverbal and verbal communication and is an important skill for therapists, as well as between clients (Miller and Rollnick 2013). Active listening is a basic therapeutic skill which when taught as a foundational competence increases therapist effectiveness and sense of efficacy (Baker et al. 1990; Levitt 2002). In comparison to other types of responses such as giving advice or acknowledgment, individuals who receive active listening report higher levels of satisfaction with the interaction and greater levels of feeling understood (Wagner et al. 2014).

Theoretical Framework

The term active listening was first used by Gordon (1970) with roots in Rogers’ (1965...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy/Applied Developmental Science ProgramColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA