Keys to Relationship Building: Listen, Empathize, Exploration and Partner

Listen,, Empathize, Exploration, and Partner.

Listening requires active listening, not passive hearing and relaxing. In this process, the active listener hears and tries to understand what the other person is saying and checks understanding of the content and feeling  by mirroring back and restating what the person has communicated. At this level of listening the listener is not interrupting or interpreting what the person is saying.  Your goal is to get on the same page with the speaker. To question or state disagreement undermines your ability to connect and build trust with the person. For many people this level of listening is difficult and uncomfortable because it seems like the conversation is moving to slowly and feels like you are  accepting and confirming the other person’s point of view. They don’t realize that there will be plenty of time to present their view after trust and acceptance is established. As a effective listener you can’t rush rapport and trust building .Empathizing involves aligning yourself with the patient’s angers, fears, and frustrations. You ask, “How does that make you feel?” You show you

understand, for example, that what the person is saying or their reality.xperience.

Agreeing is the difficult point. The patient will ask in relation to the

delusion or to his denial of being ill, “Do you believe me?” Of course, you must be

honest, or trust will be lost. So the point is to delay answering that question. You

say, “I will answer that, but first tell me more.” Or, “What I think isn’t important, I

want to know what you believe.” Or, “Your opinion is the one that matters.” And

finally, if the patient has memory problems, you can distract him or her and hope

the question will go away. When you finally do answer that question, you can

“agree to disagree” about the specific elements of delusion and whether the patient

is or is not ill. In this discussion, you try to focus on the problems that the patient

sees, not that you see.

Partnering is the last step. If the patient understands that you are

trustworthy and feel there’s a need for medication, therapy, or hospitalization, then

you can work together to begin planning the treatment.


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