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Rapport And Empathy: Important Skills For Communication In Health Services

1737 words - 7 pages

Rapport and empathy are two essential skills for communication in health services. In this integrative essay, it is displayed how rapport and empathy play an important role for communication in health services, such as counselling and psychotherapy. Empathy helps building rapport with the client. Both skills are needed in counselling, because once the client has found trust in the counsellor there is a bigger chance of them opening up about their feelings. If a client has a good rapport with the counsellor, they are less likely to discontinue the sessions. A five minute non-scripted video is included with this essay and will be referred back to, while describing and discussing rapport building and empathic listening. The video’s content is a first interview with a client, where the client tells the counsellor about a troubling issue. At the end a self-reflection is included, which will reflect upon the video, the challenges faced and future improvements for personal improvement upon communication skills.
In successful communication building rapport is one of the core second person skills. Rapport building is the establishment of a harmonic, comfortable work relationship between the counsellor and the client (Ramseyer & Tschacher, 2011). Rapport is the essential skill for a counsellor to build trust with the client. Hunt and Price (2002) suggest rapport should be additionally based on sincerity and respect and is never ending as it is a building stone to a productive long-term bond. Sharpley, Jeffrey and McMah (2006) state effective rapport building can be display through the counsellor’s interest and engagement with the client, but also the client’s involvement in the session and his or her enjoyment of sharing the experience and emotions to the counsellor. This bond can be achieved by displaying warmth, empathy and respect to the client (Strupp, 1996). Building rapport with the client should be priority for the initial meeting as the counsellor wants the client to pursue helpful goals, developed throughout the sessions and not dropout early. For example in the video, the counsellor respected the client’s feelings and time was set aside to introduce each other. Sharpley, Jeffrey and McMah (2006) conducted a study of the effect of facial expressions and the impact upon a client-counsellor rapport. Interested, excited and joyful facial expressions were found to be good examples of showing the client that the counsellor is intensely listening. This demonstrated empathy and building rapport. As can be seen in the video, throughout the session the counsellor holds eye contact with the client and nods to particular responses. This leads to the client feeling comfortable enough to continue with his responses. Particularly at three minutes and 58 seconds, the counsellor laughs at a joke made by the client to show the warmth of the communication between each other. In contrast the “hypothesized interest” with a clinical, relatively absent facial...

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