Yes, counsellors of the “person centred” or client centred “ approach recognise this staight away.
People appreciate hearing evidence they are being listened to and absolutely love hearing evidence they are being understood.
There is a couple of aspects that are not fully highlighted here and I think readily transferable to situations outside of counselling.
Unlike what I call in counselling the “wise advisor” approach —making judgement about what the client says or telling the client what they should do (both can be highly arbitrary and different for each counsellor) - the approach is to feed back what the client has said. Not so much to “repeat back,” but to feed the info back in the counsellor’s own words. Not only does this demonstrate they have been listened to and understood but when they hear it back in another person’s words they will often get an insight into the situation and come up with their own solutions. This is the goal of person centred therapy and it can work very well. A solution found by the one with the “problem” is worlds better than a suggested one, as being of the client’s own making is more likely to be workable and many times more likely to be acted upon.
You can start practicing this now.
When somebody relates a problem over coffee (or even tea) rather than sharing an opinion or making a suggestion, try beginning, “As I understand it, what you have said…” and relate back the situation in your own words.
A twenty minute conversation can result in you never offering a single suggestion or judgement, yet can be enormously therapeutic for the other person who may even walk away with self discovered solutions on how to move forward.
And your participation will be greatly appreciated.
Ralph Graham — life counselling and trauma therapy (Sydney, Australia)
[ Google: Ralph Graham counsellor ]