Therapeutic Communication is a process in which the nurse consciously influences a client or helps the client to better understand through verbal or nonverbal communication. Therapeutic communication involves the use of specific strategies that encourage the patient to express feelings and ideas and that convey acceptance and respect. Techniques utilizing therapeutic communication are a guideline in nursing. Here are the techniques: Using silence- absence of verbal communication. The nurse doesn’t speak and lets the patient express their needs. This is useful because it gives the patient time to talk and think about things instead of the nurse doing all the talking. Also if you walk by a patient and they are talking off about things you know aren’t true, the best thing to do would be not to say anything at all. That way you aren’t telling them you don’t believe them and they don’t want to argue over it. Accepting- gives sign of response. This shows the patient you are paying attention to what they have to say. Nodding your head, saying “yes” as they are speaking to you are examples. Accepting is giving them the acknowledgment that you are listening to them and understand. Just saying you understand isn’t always enough though, showing it through facial expressions and tone of voice will help. Giving recognition- indicates attentiveness.
By giving recognition you would address the patient by their name, this will show them they aren’t just another patient in the hospital and you remember who they are or care enough to remember. If they have just taken a shower let them know how pretty their hair looks. If a patient has had good behavior and completed a step in the program let them know how well they have done. Offering self- make yourself available. Use “I” statements. I will stay here with you. I will play this game with you. If a patient sees that you are offering your time and yourself for them this may help them to trust you and see that you care about them and their improvement. Giving broad openings- lets the patient decide on the topic of conversation. Ask them what they would like to talk about or what are their feelings today? This gives them to decision to make conversation about what they feel they need to talk about at the time.
Offering general leads- give the patient encouragement to keep talking. Tell them to go on you are listening when they stop speaking. This gives the patient their time to talk and get what they have to say out. It lets them know you want to hear what they have to say, are interested in the conversation and want to hear more. Placing the event in time or sequence- Describing the association of events of what point of time they happened. Knowing when certain events happened helps the nurse better understand episodes the person has or why they are having issues and they may associate those events with other things in the present. These are just a few examples of therapeutic communication. Therapeutic communication is very important as a nurse but even more important as a mental health nurse. Most patients have lots of trust issues and good reasons for having them. Having someone they know they can trust will help them throughout their treatment. If you have a good relationship with your patient then your job and their road to better health will most likely be easier on you both. Some people just need to know someone cares.