Learning Center Articles

Relationship Development and Therapeutic Communication

Relationship Development and Therapeutic Communication

  • The nurse–patient relationship is the foundation on which psychiatric nursing is established.
  • The therapeutic interpersonal relationship is the process by which nurses provide care for patients in need of psychosocial intervention.
  • Therapeutic use of self is the instrument for delivery of care to patients in need of psychosocial intervention.
  • Therapeutic nurse–patient relationships can occur only when each views the other as a unique human being. When this occurs, both participants have needs met by the relationship
  • Goals are often achieved through use of the problem-solving model.
    • Identify the patient’s problem.
    • Promote discussion of desired changes.
    • Discuss aspects that cannot realistically be changed and ways to cope with them more adaptively.
    • Discuss alternative strategies for creating changes that the patient desires to make.
  • Goals and the problem-solving model
    • Weigh benefits and consequences of each alternative.
    • Help patient select an alternative.
    • Encourage patient to implement the change.
    • Provide positive feedback for patient’s attempts to create change.
    • Help patient evaluate outcomes of the change and make modifications as required.

Therapeutic Use of Self

  • Ability to use one’s personality consciously and in full awareness in an attempt to establish relatedness and to structure nursing interventions
  • Nurses must possess self-awareness, self-understanding, and a philosophical belief about life, death, and the overall human condition