Why It Benefits You to Become a Better Listener With Psychiatrist Mark Goulston

Mark Goulston

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Mark Goulston

Mark Goulston is a psychiatrist who learned the value of listening to people. His wisdom has led him to become a consultant to many major organizations and a hostage negotiator trainer.

He is also the author of several bestselling books, including Just Listen, Get Out of Your Own Way, and Talking to Crazy. 

Why Mark Goulston Is Mentally Strong

Dr. Goulston has used some unconventional approaches in mental health treatment. Rather than simply prescribe medications to treat everyone, he worked on sharpening his listening skills. And he discovered that listening to people’s stories had a powerful impact on their ability to get better.

While he could have reserved his listening superpowers to himself, he chose to share what he learned with the world. He’s convinced that all of us have the power to communicate in a way that changes lives. 

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • The three ways Dr. Goulston listens to patients
  • How listening has saved people’s lives
  • Why he chooses to listen to people’s stories rather than check-off the boxes about a diagnosis and treatment
  • The benefits he gains from listening to people
  • Why sharing our own stories feels so good
  • The rule you should follow when deciding how long to talk to others
  • The strategies you can use to become a better listener now
  • How to evaluate your own listening skills
  • How improving your listening skills can deepen your relationships and change lives

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

When someone is struggling, it’s tempting to jump in and offer them solutions. But sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone is just listen. 
When you show that you’re invested in listening to their stories and you give them space to talk about their struggles, you give them an opportunity to develop their own solutions.

It takes mental strength to just listen. It’s hard to sit with someone who is in pain. It doesn’t always feel good to listen without sharing your own story. 

But becoming a better listener can help you grow stronger. It can also help deepen your relationships. It benefits others too because when people are able to talk openly without the fear of being judged, their mental health might improve.

Quotes From Dr. Goulston

Dr. Mark Goulston

You don't have to be a therapist to see that when you look into people's eyes and you let go of your own agenda and you try not to get scared, people are screaming to be heard. 

— Dr. Mark Goulston
  • "Listen more than you talk."
  • "There's a difference between listening to someone and listening for something."
  • "I learned to listen into people's eyes."

More About the Podcast

The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.