Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

When I ask you to Listen



When I ask you to listen to me And you start giving me advice, You have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
And you begin to tell me ‘why’ I shouldn’t feel that way, You are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
And you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
You have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen; Not talk, nor do – just hear me.

And I can do for myself – I’m not helpless
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me, that I can and need to do for myself,
You contribute to my fear and weakness.

But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, No matter how irrational
Then I quit trying to convince you
And can get about the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

When that’s clear,
The answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.  Irrational feelings make sense when we Understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works sometimes for some people;  because God is mute, and doesn’t give advice to try to ‘fix’ things

He/She just listens, and lets you work it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me, and if you want to talk,
Wait a minute for your turn,
And I’ll listen to you.



This poem was written by a mental health consumer who was institutionalised over a number of years in Queensland. He wishes to remain anonymous.

Also one of the first handouts I ever had on my counselling course many many years ago.  Fundamental for all good therapists to remember.

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4 thoughts on “When I ask you to Listen

  1. -Sunita Rajiv

    Very profound blog!
    Never thought listening needs to be just listening and it’s important to just listen.
    Very true-God listens and the rest is done by us only.

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