Thank you for taking a look at how to reflect. This matter seems critical in our social-media induced, narcissistic, modern culture. People mostly presume to listen, when by my view, no one seems to know how to reflect.  Before we can debate the issues affecting us, we must learn accurate reflecting.

Remember: Reflect the Emmotion! If Nothing Else.

How to Reflect in 3 Easy Steps

Take a deep breath, we will temporarily silence the inner-talk.

Step 1) Pause inner-talk and primarily collect emotional clues. Watch for facial expressions and listen to vocal tone that might inform you as to how the speaker feels.

Step 2) Paraphrase emotions and summarize content back to the speaker.  Often you can start your statement with “You feel” followed by your observations from step one.

Step 3) Allow conversational space for any clarifications or acknowledgment.  You want to get on the same page with someone, so repeat the reflecting process until you feel confident that participants empathize.

Try Not To Send Advice or Interrupt

Avoid A) Sending Advice.

Avoid B) Interrupting.

Extra Credit: Reflect in E-prime

If you have the skill to do so, then reflect in E-prime.  When you don’t quite feel confident about your fluency in E-prime, then using computer chat can give you the extra time and ability to edit your statements into E-prime before submission.  If you need technical support to set up a private chat, then please contact us.

E-prime affords some avenues for non-conventional solutions when employed with consistency in interpersonal counseling.  I don’t have any evidence to support that, beyond some personal experience.  At the same time, I invite you to question me directly about the epistemological mechanisms that lead toward E-prime, as a cognitive adaptation for fake news.

Avoid These Common Traps When Listening

1) No Sending Advice – Avoid the temptation to offer a solution no matter how obvious it appears as an answer to the speaker’s concerns. Instead, paraphrase and reply with the emotional content followed by echoing some details about the content of what they have to express.

2) No Interrupting – Finding the right words to express feelings and conditions can take a little time. Try not to rush the speaker by finishing their statements, or start interrupting if they go too slow for you. Give them the patience you would enjoy if you reverse roles. You’ll get rewarded when the conversation shifts focus.

How to Reflect Over Coffee

How to Reflect, Not Just Listen in 3 Explained Steps

It sometimes helps to take a deep breath as preparation for reflecting.  I don’t want to say it seems mandatory, but reflecting shifts the focus away from self-centered thinking, which can feel awkward at first.

Step 1) Pause thinking while you collect comments from the speaker. Avoid the temptation to prepare your next comment, this takes firm resolve at first. Give yourself time to warm-up to the idea of listening without contemplating a response. Don’t contemplate while they speak, and still yourself to avoid getting lost in physical distractions.

Step 2) When timing feels appropriate, paraphrase the comments indicating first the emotional character and secondly summarize the content. Remember to focus on reporting emotions since that often takes second place to the details. Sometimes, you don’t even need the details if you get the emotion correct.

Step 3) Allow conversational space for the speaker to reply. A reply will require some contemplation before they will return dialogue. Pausing here gives the respondent some courtesy. If you get too impatient here, you might accidentally interrupt. If that happens, just apologize and re-allow space for a response.

Repeat Step 1 through 3 as necessary to allow the speaker to finish expressing their concerns.