Frequently Asked Questions

Most people feel unsure about their ability to listen well and don’t always know what to say. These courses are designed to teach individuals that it is possible to become a better listener regardless of context or walk of life. Empathic listening is the basis for meaningful relationships. It helps create the internal space necessary to truly value the dignity of the other person. 

The Foundational course typically takes 60-90 minutes, but can be adjusted depending on the needs of the individual or organization. Question and answer sessions, follow-ups seminars, additional materials can all be customized for the best fit. This course combines a modest amount of theoretical grounding with specific, practical guidance on accurately listening to the other and effectively responding to assure that person has been truly heard. Participants can expect to:

  1. Gain a basic understanding of empathy and empathic listening
  2. Learn the essential skills required for empathic listening
  3. Enhance listening skills through basic exercises
  4. Understand several distinctions between social and empathic conversations
  5. Become familiar with basic grief theory and the losses and changes which evoke grief
  6. Learn effective and flawed responses to grieving persons
For many years these programs have been hospital-based, with multiple concurrent courses being offered annually of varying lengths: 3, 12, and 24 months.  These programs attracted extremely diverse participant groups.  Their motivations varied, some to strengthen their service in civic and volunteer organizations, while others sought to provide pastoral care ministry.  Everyone, however, drew upon this experience to enhance relationships within their private and social lives.  More recently the programs have been church-based.  Cumulatively, over several thousand persons have participated.  
Now these seasoned educators are drawing upon their expertise to offer programs with a different educational format to reach more individuals and groups across the country — virtual, interactive training.  Combining interactional exercises with introductory theory and skill development, this technology-based venture emphasizes practical guidance for enriched human connections in a variety of contexts.

Most recently we have been working with hospitals and laypersons on reentry into hospital settings.  Though concerns about the pandemic still linger, there are many hopeful signs across the country.  Restrictions are being lifted, including in-person visitation within hospitals. This “opening up” process extends to faith-based community representatives, including Catholic laypersons. While this development is exciting news, caution must be exercised, because hospitals are quite different now than in the pre-COVID days.

Effective reentry requires sensitivity to several major factors, each of which has multiple elements: 

  • Intense challenges experienced by hospital staff in the past 12 months — and many continue!
  • Unique concerns facing current hospital patients and their families.
  • Anticipatory uneasiness felt by EMHC and Lay Ministers upon reentry.

This 60 minute webinar thoroughly addresses these dynamics, plus offers specific suggestions on “getting started” with staff and patient conversations.