A Therapeutic Relationship Essay

2156 Words 9 Pages
A therapeutic relationship is an essential component of any successful health care intervention and this holds no more truth than in the relationship between nurse and patient. As registered nurses we are not trained counsellors, however we do have an understanding of basic counselling skills and how they are applied at a ward level and as such it is more important as a registered nurse to establish a proactive therapeutic relationship with a patient than it is to use an appropriate counselling approach. This paper will examine what counselling is, the role of the nurse counsellor, the basic counselling skills used by registered nurses and the differences in counselling approaches.
Counselling and psychotherapy are frequently used
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A good therapeutic relationship is developed between nurse and patient through the appropriate use of basic counselling skills. A qualitative study into Counselling and Mental Health Nursing (Stickley, 2002) describes the role of the nurse counsellor:
Although nurses utilize skills in their work, it is worth highlighting the key differences between nursing and counselling practice. The two roles have very different boundaries. The nurse invariable performs many roles in the course of his/her work; clinician, teacher, friend, gaoler. By contrast, the counsellor maintains only one role for their client, that of a listener, one who reflects feelings and meanings, and possibly offers interpretations. The counsellor’s contract with a client is usually limited to 1 hour per week in a counselling room. Nurses, however, fulfil many and varied activities with their clients. What is common to both professions is the necessity for the development of the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and client.
There is widespread understanding that although nurses may counsel their clients, they are not counsellors inasmuch as they have not undergone professional counselling training. However, one-to-one work utilizing counselling skills is intrinsic to nursing.
Stickley (2005) has not only defined the role of the nurse counsellor by he has reinforced the importance of the developing a good therapeutic
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