“Um, mm-h, Yeah”: Carl Rogers, Phonographic Recordings, and the Making of Therapeutic Listening

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Abstract

Listening seems to be a simple and natural act. We sit back, look at the speaker, and take in what she says. And yet, we also know that good listening is a skill, an art, that if done correctly, can be transformative. This article looks into the history of listening as a therapeutic practice placing emphasis on the ways it has been shaped by media technologies. Sketching the development of the concept and practice of “empathic,” “reflective,” or “active listening” through the career of humanistic psychologist Carl R. Rogers, the article shows how Rogers’ use of phonographic recordings changed not only his practice of listening, but ultimately also the ideals that shaped that practice. The technology of recording offered Rogers and his colleagues the opportunity to listen to themselves to learn how to listen well, thus allowing them to study, and to adjust, their own role in the therapeutic situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-210
Number of pages20
JournalHistory of Psychology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • General Psychology

Keywords

  • Carl r. rogers
  • Empathy
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Phonographic recordings
  • Therapeutic listening

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