Artist and Active Listener

Artist and Active Listener

Active Listener

Why Do I need an Active Listener for my next event or Project?

Amanda in grey shirt with glasses and short hair smiles at the camera while being the Active Listener during Workman Art’s virtual Rendezvous with Madness 2020 festival.

As an Active Listener (Empathetic Listener, or Emotional Support Person) I am not a mental health professional. I am a person with lived experience who has a compassionate and empathetic approach to listening to others. All conversations are kept confidential and in collaboration with the individual receiving the service. If desired, applicable mental health resources will be offered to ensure the individual leaves feeling supported. 

What is an active Listener and why is it important to have one at my event?

This is a peer-to-peer emotional support service. During events there will be engaging and honest discussions about the human experience. Materials can be difficult for some and active listeners offer self-care strategies and emotional support. The Active Listener is there to create a space for ease and an environment of care. This services can be in-person, online or a hybrid. The Active Listener service allows participants to:

  • gain access to a peer with lived experience.
  • speak to someone during/after the event.
  • talk to a compassionate, empathetic, trauma-informed individual to listen.
  • receive mental health resources, if desired.
  • separate from the event to reground and regroup before leaving the event or continuing with it.
Working with Amanda is truly a pleasure – they bring a lot of expertise in peer support and active listening, and work with you closely to design a process that works best for your needs and the needs of your participants, and tailor their approach to fit your event design. They are organized and detail oriented, while also bringing lots of care to the process to ensure all those involved feel supported. I’d highly recommend Amanda as an active listener for your next event or program!
Athavarn Srikantharajah
Family Services Toronto's Campaign 2000 (2022)

My Intention at every Event

My goal is to leave every conversation knowing that the individual feels a little more heard than when we first started. This isn’t always possible. Resources to support the person, if they desire, including warm and distress lines and/or community groups are shared to give the person further support outside our time. Each person is responsible for their own well-being. The Active Listener is there to support them within the time of the event. 

My experience has been in both online and offline settings. Though there are differences, the experience of connecting with someone ultimately will remain similar. My style is to be a person’s motivator and the emotional person they “sit” beside. I am so grateful for the opportunity for people to trust me with their feelings and vulnerabilities. Content viewed can stir up emotions, ones that perhaps folks didn’t know they had within. That is the beauty of art, whether through theatre, film, workshops and discussions and visual exhibitions. Art has a wonderful way of transforming us, deeply connecting us and the privilege to be with someone in their moment of connection is humbling and unites us as human beings.

Have Questions?

Amanda (they/them) is a recovering perfectionist and empathic human living in Tkaronto (Toronto). Their goal is to leave every conversation knowing that the individual feels a little more heard than when they began. Amanda loves to discuss creativity and mental health. They have been trained as a peer support and completed their Mental Health First Aid certification. When Amanda isn’t an Active Listener, they facilitate arts and mental health workshops and work in arts administration.

For rates, please contact me through the contact form. Share your event details (date, times, any content warnings to be aware of, type of people, description of event and any information to help me get a better sense of the expectations). 

There are similarities in that our goal is to listen to folks and provide emotional support. However, how we approach the role is very personal to who we are and our personal lived experiences. Finding the right person for your event to serve your viewers and attendees, in my opinion, is the priority. Taking care of people is the main goal.

Every event is different and we can collaborate on the possibilities that work for your audience. Typically, I am introduced in the promotions of the event and during the introduction of the event so people know they have access to support, if needed.

Learning and educating myself is on-going. The lived experience of someone is the most valuable way to empathize and connect with another fellow human being and should not be limited to their formal education.

This is a short list of ways I enhance my support skills: I have been trained by IONIA under their Peer Support Specialist Training, received my certificate for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) from Mental Health Commission of Canada, trained in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) by LivingWorks, and have been to many anti-oppression, anti-ableism and anti-sanism workshops.

To name a few: Bell Let’s Talk, Rendezvous With Madness Festival, Being Scene, Firefly Creative Writing, JAYU, Reel Asian Film Fesitval, Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Film Festival, Nonprofit Driven Annual Conference, Family Services Toronto and Toronto Fringe Festival. To see what folks have said about me, please go HERE.

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