There are two aims in any conversation: unambiguous expression of your own position and complete comprehension of the other person’s views. We should always remember that neither of these is a realistic goal.
Clientsâ€™ perceptions of rapport may be enhanced by silences. Therapists who are uncomfortable with silence should remind themselves that their clientâ€™s interpretation of the silence may be much more positive.
Judicious use of open & closed questions can empower clients. Restricting the range of responses when some are inappropriate or unavailable demands more of the therapist, but can be more supportive for the client.
Speaking more slowly can improve communication between therapist and client. Slow speech is more comprehensible and more considered.
Writing only when you are speaking maintains normal eye contact. This serves to normalise the interaction, reassures the client that they have your attention and that you are writing what they are saying.
Giving clients permission â€œnot to speakâ€ encourages disclosure. Explicitly granting the freedom to subvert our power frees the client to tell us what they need.
Steady eye contact from a client is your prompt to speak. Attending to eye contact helps us to minimise interruptions of the clientâ€™s train of thought and to be more comfortable with silences.