Mental Health Patients

� What might be some of the challenges at each phase of an interview?

� What does it mean to be empathic?

� How would not listening effect the establishment of a therapeutic relationship?

� What is the importance of the use of self within a therapeutic relationship?

                                                                   Mental Health

          Rapport building is usually the first phase of an interview. The process requires optimal interactions, and it could be time-consuming (Bandyopadhyay, 2011).  It requires that interviewees express trust for their interviewers that would often require more than the allocated time Ethical concerns may limit the collection of background information about respondents. Respondents may not disclose issues that they feel uncomfortable to reveal. (Iedema, Allen, Britton, Piper, Baker, Grbich, Gallagher, 2011). Ethical conflicts may arise when interviewers push their subjects too much for information. The stage of answering behavioral questions requires interviewees to be conversant with specific methods of answering. The activity may not be informative if the method of answering fails to take a definite pattern. Closing remarks in interviews require the interviewees to link presiding activities to what the interviewer needs. Such a fulfillment is difficult to achieve with some respondents.

          Being empathic entails understanding the perspectives of other persons, connecting to their emotions and being able to communicate one’s feelings about others. Empathy is a vital virtue in promoting the interaction of human beings (Green, 2015). In most cases, empathic persons are compassionate about others. People’s values and culture may influence their assessment of empathy. Different people may have varied expectations concerning the reactions of others to particular situations. Substantial evidence exists relating empathic conduct and improved patient satisfaction (Yousefi, & Abedi, 2011, Pg. 126). Patients have more confidence in healthcare providers who express empathy than they have for those who do not show the trait (Yousefi, & Abedi, 2011, Pg. 126).

          Failure of health care providers to listen to their clients hinders the establishment of a therapeutic relationship (Yousefi, & Abedi, 2011, Pg. 128). Patients feel that care providers are not concerned with their current health status, and they develop minimal trust in them. Lack of listening sends the implication that care providers are not empathic to their patients. Clinicians may also write misleading information and misunderstand patients if they do not listen attentively to what their clients say. Such misunderstandings would hurt the establishment of a therapeutic relationship. Clinicians may also fail to understand and address the concerns of their patients if they lack good listening skills. Interactions between the two parties may not be open, and the occurrence would hinder the establishment of a therapeutic relationship. Conflicts are also likely to occur and persist if either of the parties does not listen to the concerns of the other (Larsson, Sahlsten, Segesten, & Plos, 2011).

          Applying self is an effective tool for establishing healthy therapeutic relationships (Kourkouta, & Papathanasiou, 2014, Pg. 66). Such interactions reduce anxiety between parties hence improving interactions. Patients find it easy to seek information from clinicians who apply self in interactions (Carr, Odell-Miller, & Priebe, 2013). As such, patients feel reassured and experience minimal fears in establishing trust upon health care professionals. Self also facilitates interactions in that it allows practitioners to make conscious and right responses to their clients. Clinicians cause positive influence in their patients when they express a personal understanding of their clients. Applying self also facilitates rapport building that forms the basis of interactive interviewing and communication. Recognizing and respecting patient’s individuality by applying self creates a reputation of humility, empathy, and honesty.


Bandyopadhyay, M. (2011). Tackling complexities in understanding the social determinants of health: the contribution of ethnographic research. BMC Public Health, 11(Suppl 5), S6.

Carr, C., Odell-Miller, H., & Priebe, S. (2013). A Systematic Review of Music Therapy Practice and Outcomes with Acute Adult Psychiatric In-Patients. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e70252.

Green, W. (2015). Empathy in mental health setting. Finders University.

Iedema, R., Allen, S., Britton, K., Piper, D., Baker, A., Grbich, C., . . .Gallagher, T. (2011). Patients’ and family members’ views on how clinicians enact and how they should enact incident disclosure: the “100 patient stories” qualitative study. BMJ, 2011(343).

Kourkouta, L., & Papathanasiou, I. V. (2014). Communication in nursing practice. Materia Socio-Medica, 26(1), 65–67. doi:10.5455/msm.2014.26.65-67wordLarsson, E., Sahlsten, M. J., Segesten, K., & Plos, K. E. A. (2011). Patients’ perceptions of nurses’ behaviour that influence patient participation in nursing care: a critical incident study,” Nursing Research and Practice, 2011(534060).

Yousefi, H., & Abedi, H. A. (2011). Spiritual care in hospitalized patients. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 16(1), 125–132.

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