Empathic Listening: How to be of Help

Six-week class on Mondays
November 7 – December 12
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Central Union Church Music Building

When you ask someone at work, at home, at church, how they are and they say, “I’ve had a terrible day/week,” or “Not so good,” or even, “Ok, I guess,” any response which indicates they are less than wonderful, do you know what to do to be of most help to them?

This class will focus entirely upon how to respond with another person when they are experiencing distress, mild or severe, short term or long term.  Practice with coaching from the instructor will occur at each class along with much discussion.

Empathic listening is a way of being with another—friend, colleague, family, stranger—when they are experiencing upset regarding something recent or long lived, a proven way, the opposite of giving advice, consoling, questioning, sympathizing, (our common notions of “helping”). It is how to meet them where they are!

This simple way will be taught during this intensive six-session class.  Each person will learn how to listen with empathy and will practice with another.  Discovered 80 years ago by psychologist Carl Rogers, empathic listening is learnable and doable by virtually everyone, yet is also the primary way of responding to another in one major school of counseling and psychotherapy.  Still this way of responding is unfamiliar to most people.

Class size limited to 10 people.  Registration required.


Contact: Allan Rohlfs

About the Instructor
Allan Rohlfs has taught listening for over 45 years, including for 25 years at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago to pastoral care classes and also conduct workshops throughout the US and Europe. He wrote an upcoming book on listening, “When I Listen People Speak and Come Alive!”

Note: This class is to develop listening skills when another is distressed and their distress is not about you.