Therapeutic communication techniques
Gives the client the opportunity to collect and organize thoughts, to think through a point, or to consider introducing a topic of greater concern than the one being discussed
“Yes, I understand what you said.” Eye contact; nodding.
Conveys an attitude of reception and regard.
Acknowledging; indicating awareness; better than complimenting, which
reflects the nurse’s judgment.
“Hello, Mr. J. I notice that you made a ceramic ash tray in OT.” “I see you made your bed.”
Making oneself available on an unconditional basis, increasing
client’s feelings of self-worth.
“I’ll stay with you awhile.” “We can eat our lunch together.” “I’m interested in you.”
Allows the client to take the initiative in introducing the topic;
emphasizes the importance of the client’s role in the
“What would you like to talk about today?” “Tell me what you are thinking.”
Giving Broad Openings
Offers the client encouragement to continue.
“Yes, I see.” “Go on.” “And after that?”
Offering General Leads
Clarifies the relationship of events in time so that the nurse and client can view them in perspective.
“What seemed to lead up to . . .?”
“Was this before or after . . .?”
“When did this happen?”
Placing the Event in Time or Sequence
Verbalizing what is observed or perceived. This encourages the client
to recognize specific behaviors and compare perceptions with the
“You seem tense.” “I notice you are pacing a lot.” “You seem uncomfortable when you. . . .”
Asking the client to verbalize what is being perceived; often used
with clients experiencing hallucinations.
“Tell me what is happening now.” “Are you hearing the voices again?” “What do the voices seem to be saying?”
Encouraging Description of Perceptions
Asking the client to compare similarities and differences in ideas,
experiences, or interpersonal relationships. This helps the client
recognize life experiences that tend to recur as well as those aspects
of life that are changeable.
“Was this something like . . .?” “How does this compare with the time when . . .?” “What was your response the last time this situation occurred?”