Developing therapeutic listening

Billy Lee*, Seamus Prior

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an experience-near account of the development of therapeutic listening in first year counselling students. A phenomenological approach was employed to articulate the trainees' lived experiences of their learning. Six students who had just completed a one-year postgraduate certificate in counselling skills were interviewed and the transcripts analysed using the method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Developing therapeutic reflexivity emerged as a strong recurrent theme. Four subthemes captured the characteristics of this reflexivity: (1) Learning to hear the self; (2) Listening as relationship; (3) Revelation of otherness; and (4) Thereness. These findings foreground the development of therapeutic openness, bracketing and reflexivity in learning to listen therapeutically, and help to make sense of the complex transition experienced by students during their first year of counselling education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-104
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Guidance & Counselling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • listening
  • bracketing
  • reflexivity
  • counselling training
  • phenomenology


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