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Parroting

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Updated October 01, 2008

Definition:

Parroting is a conversational technique that can be quite effective in therapy. The therapist loosely repeats what the client has just said. The twin goals of this technique are ensuring that the therapist heard what was said correctly, and encouraging the client to further clarify his or her thoughts.

When parroting, it is important not to go too far. It is much better to repeat only the last few words than to attempt to repeat several sentences. Additionally, repetitive parroting can become annoying. It can also make the client feel nervous or edgy.

When used properly, parroting can help encourage the client to talk through all sides of an issue and come to his or her own logical conclusion.

Examples:
Michael had trouble explaining how his phobia made him feel. His therapist used parroting to encourage Michael to keep talking, eventually finding the right words.
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