Nursing: Therapeutic Communication Techniques

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Accepting
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Indicating reception; Indicates that the nurse has heard and followed the train of thought. Ex: Nodding, Tone of Voice, Facial Expression
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Broad Openings
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Allowing the client to take the initiative in introducing the topic Ex: “Where would you like to to begin?” “Is there something you’d like to talk about?”
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Consensual Validation
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Searching for mutual understanding and for accord in the meaning of the words. Ex: “Are you using this word to convey that…?” “Tell me whether my understanding agrees with yours.”
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Encouraging Comparison
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Asking that similarities and differences noted. Ex: “Was it something like…” “Have you had similar experiences?”
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Encouraging Description of Perceptions
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Asking the client to verbalize what he or she perceives. Ex: “Tell me when you feel anxious.” “What is happening?”
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Encouraging Expression
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Asking the client to appraise the quality of his or her experiences. Ex: “What are your feelings about…?” “Does this contribute to your distress?”
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Exploring
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Delving further into a subject or idea. Ex: “Tell me more about that.” “What kind of work?”
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Focusing
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Concentrating on a single point. Ex: “Of all the concerns you’ve mentioned, which is most troublesome?”
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Formulating a Plan of Action
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Asking the client to consider kinds of behavior likely to be appropriate in future situations. Ex: “Next time this comes up, what will you do?”
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General Leads
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Giving encouragement to continue. Ex: “Go on.” “And then?”
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Giving Information
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Making available the facts the client needs. Ex: “My name is…” “Visiting hours are…”
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Giving Recognition
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Acknowledging, indicating awareness. Ex: “Good morning, Mrs. S.” “I notice that you’ve combed your hair.”
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Making Observations
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Verbalizing what the nurse perceives. Ex: “You appear tense.” “I notice that you’re biting your lip.”
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Offering Self
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Making oneself available. Ex: “I’ll sit with you awhile.” “I’m interested in what you think.”
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Placing Event in Time or Sequence
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Clarifying the relationship of events in time. Ex: “What seemed to lead to…?” Ex: “When did this happen?”
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Presenting Reality
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Offering for consideration what is real. Ex: “I see no one else in the room.” “Your mother is not here; I am a nurse.”
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Reflecting
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Directing client actions, thoughts, and feelings back to the client.
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Restating
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Repeating the main idea expressed. Ex: Patient -” I can’t sleep and stay away all night.” Nurse – “You have difficulty sleeping.”
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Seeking Information
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Seeking to make clear that is vague. Ex: “I’m not sure that I follow.”
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Silence
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Absence of verbal communication, which provides time for the client to put thoughts or feelings into words or regain composure. Ex: Nurse says nothing but continues to maintain eye contact and convey interest.
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Suggesting Collaboration
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Offering to share, strive, and work with the client for his or her benefit. Ex: “Perhaps you and I can discuss and discover the triggers or your anxiety.”
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Summarizing
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Organizing and summing up what has been said. Ex: “You’ve said that…” “During the past hour, we have discussed…”
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Translating into Feelings
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Seeking to verbalize client’s feelings that he or she expresses only indirectly. Ex: Client – “I’m dead.” Nurse – “Are you suggesting that you feel lifeless?”
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Verbalizing the Implied
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Voicing what the client has hinted at or suggested. Ex: Client – “I can’t talk to you or anyone.” Nurse: – “Do you feel that no one understands?”
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Voicing Doubt
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Expressing uncertainty about the reality of the client’s perceptions. Ex: “Really?”

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