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You can always be misunderstood

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 aims is a realistic goal. A client told me of an ante-natal appointment at which...

Improve rapport by allowing silences

Clients’ perceptions of rapport may be enhanced by silences. Therapists who are uncomfortable with silence should remind themselves that their client’s interpretation of the silence may be much more positive. A client once asked me not to delay speaking once he...

Closed questions can be supportive for clients

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. One benefit of speaking slowly is that you get to...

Slow speech makes for clear communication

Speaking more slowly can improve communication between therapist and client. Slow speech is more comprehensible and more considered. Anxiety is characterised by rapid speech. Therapists, especially trainees, may be anxious in sessions, but may also feel the need to...

Writing when you speak preserves eye contact

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. Writing while the other person is speaking reverses the normal...