When we talk about psychological therapies, we often tend to think of the techniques used, the tools for assessing attitudes and abilities, or the approach used in this particular consultation.
Of course, these are very important factors in delimiting what type of therapy you are undergoing and what are the goals of their participation, but to fully grasp the essence of modern psychotherapy sessions we must additionally consider another key question. This is the quality of the therapeutic alliance established between the patient and the professional.
It is a concept that can also be called report, And which is used in areas such as clinical psychology, NLP and even the treatment of patients provided by nursing staff.
Understand the meaning of the word “report”
The therapeutic relationship is a shared and empathetic understanding of the different perspectives from which the self and the other person approach a problem that needs to be resolved by both. It is a framework of relationships in which mutual understanding is established between different agents in order to approach a problem collaboratively.
In short, the therapeutic relationship is psychological harmonization between the therapist and the patient which allows the necessary collaboration between the two. Its two fundamental pillars are mutual trust and fluid communication (which is not symmetrical, because the ideal is that the patient expresses himself much more than the therapist).
Communicate … beyond consultation
Originally, the word relationship referred to the relationship dynamics that should govern the interaction between a health professional or therapist and his patients. Thus, there are training programs for mental health professionals and physicians that focus on teaching reporting techniques, as it is seen as a key aspect of the intervention’s effectiveness on patients. however, today, this word can also be applied to practically any context in which there is a task which can be carried out by two people who must reach a good degree of understanding. to achieve this.
In addition, the relationship can be understood both as a dynamic of relationships (i.e. something located in a specific time and space) or as a technique applied by a therapist (i.e. say an instrument that is part of the “ repertoire of professional skills). However, these nuances do not vary the nature of what should be a good ratio.
Where there is a good relationship, there are also the three pillars on which it rests: coordination (or mirroring), reciprocity and finding common ground.
the coordination mirroring consists of adapt to the rhythm of the other person both gesture (Capture all of your non-verbal language and reproduce it in a similar way), orally (Adapt tone of voice and pace of speech to that of the other person) and, above all, emotionally (Reflect on the emotional state of the other person to show empathy and at the same time show that empathy).
Show reciprocity consists of find ways to match the other person’s contributions, whether they are actions or phrases. Classically, in psychological consultation, reciprocity results in active listening, in which the psychologist, while remaining calmer than the patient, constantly gives signals to listen to the other person and react to what he says.
This component of the report varies depending on the nature of the collaborative work that people need to do.
3. Common places
This factor refers to the need to focus messages and actions on topics of interest to everyone involved. It’s something we often do without realizing it, tempting the tastes and hobbies of someone we just met and ending up talking about something we find easy to converse about.
This is also done in therapy, although, of course, always with the aim of the sessions in mind and without deviating too much from certain guidelines and topics to be covered.
The result of these three factors is building empathy, trust and clear communication.
Guidelines for creating a report
a part of the keys by which psychologists and therapists are guided to establish a good therapeutic relationship son:
1. Be aware of the importance of the first impression
Most development professionals largely depend on their ability to generate good reports they are particularly zealous in presenting themselves to the patient in the appropriate way. In this way, from the start a framework of relationships is created based more on trust than on lack of trust and, on the other hand, the fact that the therapist presents himself correctly can make the patient see that he has himself. even an unexpected prominence. .
A simple handshake, for example, is enough to make patients much more receptive to the care of the psychologist and health workers in general.
2. Combine non-verbal and verbal language
A large part of creating rapport is about minimizing possible distortions in interpreting each other’s expressions. For that, it is important to speak clearly, without contradictions between what is said and what is done. For example, inviting a patient to explain their problem while keeping their arms crossed is something that affects the quality of the therapeutic relationship because an inconsistent message is being sent.
To deepen this important aspect, you can consult this article:
“The 5 keys to mastering non-verbal language”
3. State unambiguously angry
This is one of the guidelines to follow which requires good preparation of verbal expression. consists of use accessible and clear language, without spaces that could give rise to double meanings or unfinished sentences. This way, the other person won’t have to struggle to disentangle the meaning of what is being said, which in itself could lead to rejection.
4. Test the quality of the report
Although not noticed, therapists throw small “balloon probes” at the patient to test the strength of the therapeutic relationship. For example, they can interrupt the mirroring by adopting a position very different from that of the other person or by changing the pace of the speech to see if that initiative is imitated. If the patient adapts to these changes, the relationship is established successfully.
5. Frequently do self-criticism
psychologists they spend a lot of time self-assessing to know what dynamic works and what doesn’t when it comes to establishing a therapeutic relationship with the patient. Therefore, the quality of the report improves as the imperfections of this alliance between psychologist and patient are polished, which is done through self-study.
During the consultation, the relationship is the therapeutic relationship that evolves in the balance between the difference in patient-professional roles and the common goal of collaborating to solve a problem. Therefore, the relationship is not exactly the capacity of a therapist or a tool implemented unilaterally, but something that is generated in the dynamics of interactions with patients.
It is something that must be nurtured by both parties, but for this the psychologist is specially prepared. Through a blend of empathy and consistency in what is expressed, a therapist can organize a relational framework in which the relationship emerges almost spontaneously.
Depending on the roles people have to play and the goals to be achieved, good harmonization between agents can give rise to different types of reports adapted to each situation, Although its foundations are still the same.
Casella, SM (2015). Therapeutic relationship: the forgotten intervention. Magazine of Emergency Nursing, 41 (3), p. 252 – 154
Dolcos, S., Sung, K., Argo, JJ, Flor-Henry, S., Dolcos, F. (2012). The power of a handshake: Neural correlates of evaluative judgments in observed social interactions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24 (12), pages 2292-2305
Norfolk T., Birdi K., Patterson F. (2009). Development of therapeutic relationships: training validation study. Quality of Primary Care, 17, pages 99-106.