Therapeutic communication is a way to uplift and heal with your words. One of the most powerful methods is Active Listening. When you actively listen to someone, you put all your focus into the words they are saying.
When you actively listen, you wait until the person is done speaking to think of a response. There is a short silence in the conversation while you think of what to say, and it’s a time of reflection for you both. Often the other person will then continue to talk. The more they talk, the more weight is lifted off their shoulders. You may allow them to express feelings they’ve held in for years.
They tell you that they feel hopeless, but no one ever listens. Their friends and family say “Think positive, and stop being so sad all the time”. “Look at all you have how could you be sad, you’re ungrateful”. “Depression isn’t real, mental illness isn’t real”. “Here’s a few quotes on positivity”.
Now let’s imagine that instead of actively listening while that person is talking, you think of what to say next. You may miss the facial expression and sadness in their eyes, that doesn’t match the words they are saying. When they speak about their hurt, you say “Don’t worry, it will get better”. You think you’re encouraging them, but this statement is dismissive. The conversation soon ends.
Active listening is so therapeutic, because it gives the other person an outlet to express their feelings. While expressing their feelings, they may discover the root of their problems. When they discover the root of their problems, they may then figure out ways to improve their situation.
At the very least they may have hope, because at least one person cared enough to listen.