The therapeutic relationship and communication with clients

Communication and the relationship between the practitioner and the client impacts upon your practice and therapeutic outcomes. Effective communication strategies complement the functional medicine approach which underpins complementary therapy.

Active listening ensures that what clients say is received and understood by the practitioner and gives attention to both the spoken work and non-verbal cues and signs. As a practitioner it means paying close attention to what the client is saying, feeling and thinking.

The aim of an effective consultation is to empower the client to make informed decisions that will lead to consistent positive health behavior and lifestyle changes.

Here I break down the various aspects involved in building effective relationships with your clients.

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) illustrates a process of behaviour change which starts with the individual’s readiness to change. It is widely applied to different health behaviour interventions such as smoking cessation, alcohol misuse and overeating. These theories or aspects of health behaviour change should be applied to your future practice in order to ensure successful client outcomes.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) has become a tool which is used largely in the business community and for personal development, but it has value for therapists working with clients as well. By exploring NLP, I am not suggesting that you should be an expert in the use of all the NLP techniques in practice, however, what you can do is consider aspects of questioning or focusing with a client that can enable you to identify issues which may become barriers to change when it comes to compliance with your therapy programme.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) uses a guiding style to engage clients, clarify their strengths and aspirations, evoke their own motivations for change and promote autonomy in decision making.

Maintaining professional boundaries is a key part of the therapeutic relationship. Each health professional is guided by their own code of conduct and standards of practice.

Building an effective relationship with your client is the key to success within your business and also in delivering successful treatment programmes for your clients.

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