VSPN STAF134-0121: Empathy and Reflective Listening

The lectures for this course will be presented in an audio format using a webinar platform.

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Presenter: Heather Howell, RVT, LVT, MBA
Course Open: January 5, 2021- January 29, 2021
Real Time Sessions (RTS): Tuesdays January 12 and 19, 2021 9:30-11 PM ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area: World Clock Converter

Level and Prerequisites: This basic course course is designed to teach participants communication skills, allowing them to be intentional and effective during challenging or emotional communications. Participants will learn to use empathy and reflective listening skills during challenges, creating communication that meets both parties’ needs.
VSPN CE Course: Open to veterinarians, veterinary technicians/technologists, and support staff.

Course Information:
Do you feel stuck in your communication patterns when dealing with challenging conversations or conflicts? Do you ever feel as if you have had the same conversation with your spouse/parent/child/boss/client/coworker over and over, but nothing ever changes? These communication tools - empathy and reflective listening - could be just what you are looking for to change the outcome of your interactions. Participants will learn the difference between empathy and other communication tools such as sympathy, solving, consoling, or questioning. Empathy is a valuable communication tool for diffusing challenging interactions, particularly when the other person is very emotional or upset. Reflective listening tips are an essential tool for clarifying other’s needs and diffusing emotional communications. Participants will learn about these techniques and have the opportunity to practice during real time sessions. This course will teach important communication tools for the workplace as well as everyday life.

Week 1 (Real Time Session January 12): Evaluating Your Communication Choices
Recommended Reading: Nonviolent Communication-A Language of Compassion: Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5
Objectives: Upon completion of this session, the participant should be able to
  • Consider your own communication style in times of stress or conflict.
  • Learn about empathy, what it is as well as what it is not.
  • Discuss when empathy and reflective listening are most effective.
  • Discover how to recognize your choices in response to others.
  • Learn how to clarify what you are observing, feeling, and needing.
  • Learn how to recognize when you are making judgments and applying labels, which hamper communication.
  • Learn to listen for the other person’s needs and requests.
Week 2 (Real Time Session January 19): Using Empathy and Reflective Listening as the Listener and the Speaker
Recommended Reading: Nonviolent Communication-A Language of Compassion: Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 10
Objectives: Upon completion of this session, the participant should be able to
  • Practice using empathy and reflective listening as the listener and as the speaker.
  • Look at what stops you from using these tools.
  • Consider conversations where these tools are most effective and learn how they shift the speaker’s mindset.
  • Learn how to recognize your feelings, state your needs, and make specific requests.
  • Discuss receiving other’s words as an opportunity.
  • Explore finding a way to express our own needs that doesn’t provoke defensiveness in others.
Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course. To learn more about the requirements for earning a CE certificate, please refer to Receiving Your CE Credit and Course Completion Certificate.

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
Recomended Textbook: Rosenberg, M. B. (2003). Nonviolent Communication -A Language of Life. Puddledancer Press. ISBN-13: 9781892005038. Purchase from any bookstore.

About the Presenter:
Heather Howell, RVT, LVT, MBA is a credentialed veterinary technician in CA and NV. She received her BS in Animal Science at UC Davis and her MBA at the University of Nevada, Reno. Since 1988, she has worked in all capacities of the veterinary hospital including hospital administrator, practice management consultant, speaker, and instructor. She also works for VIN as a Content Administrator.

Total CE Credit: 3

Tuition: $63($57 early bird special if enrolled by December 22, 2020)
* Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CVMA approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status).

Prices are listed in US dollars.

*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close on January 12, 2021 at 5 pm ET (USA) or when the maximum number of participants is reached.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

To Enroll:
  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from @vspn.org and @vin.com addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 800-846-0028 ext. 797 or email . Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
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“This program has been submitted (but is not yet approved) for 3 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval. “ This course is approved by VHMA for CVPM credit. (VHMA program # 10-01).

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN office 800-846-0028 ext. 797 to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.

*For more information on VSPN's upcoming CE courses, check the VSPN Course Catalog.

Lisa Kernaghan, LVT, RVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
VSPN CE Coordinator

VSPN CE Services:
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 797
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01 45 222 6154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357