What are some ways to build rapport with clients during telehealth therapy sessions?
Building rapport with clients during telehealth therapy sessions is essential for creating a trusting and therapeutic relationship. Here are some effective ways to build rapport in a telehealth setting:
- Establish a Welcoming Environment: Begin the session by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Greet the client with a friendly tone, use their name, and express your genuine interest in their well-being.
- Active Listening: Demonstrate active listening skills by giving your full attention to the client. Maintain eye contact, nod to show understanding, and provide verbal and non-verbal cues that indicate you are engaged and present.
- Empathy and Understanding: Show empathy towards the client’s experiences, challenges, and emotions. Validate their feelings and demonstrate understanding. Use reflective statements to confirm that you understand their perspective.
- Clear Communication: Ensure that your communication is clear, concise, and easily understood. Use plain language and avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse the client. Check for comprehension and encourage the client to ask questions or seek clarification.
- Emotional Support: Acknowledge and validate the client’s emotions. Provide a safe space for them to express themselves without judgment. Offer support, reassurance, and encouragement throughout the session.
- Respect and Cultural Sensitivity: Show respect for the client’s values, beliefs, and cultural background. Be mindful of cultural differences and incorporate cultural sensitivity into your interactions. Avoid assumptions and take the time to learn about their cultural perspectives and practices.
- Personalise the Session: Tailor the session to the client’s needs and preferences. Incorporate their interests, goals, and values into the therapeutic process. Collaborate with the client in setting treatment goals and involve them in decision-making.
- Use Visual Cues: In a telehealth setting, visual cues become even more important for building rapport. Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera, use facial expressions to convey emotions, and use gestures when appropriate to enhance communication.
- Demonstrate Professionalism: Maintain a professional demeanor throughout the session. Be punctual, dress appropriately, and maintain confidentiality and privacy. Establish clear boundaries and ethical standards to create a safe therapeutic environment.
- Follow-Up and Continuity of Care: Follow up with the client between sessions to check on their progress, address any concerns, or answer questions. Provide resources or additional support as needed. Continuity of care demonstrates your commitment to their well-being.
- Seek Feedback: Regularly ask for feedback from clients about their experience with the telehealth therapy sessions. Listen to their suggestions, concerns, and preferences. Adapting to their needs and incorporating their feedback helps build trust and collaboration.
Remember that building rapport takes time and effort. Each client is unique, so it’s important to adapt these strategies to meet their individual needs. Through consistent and empathetic communication, you can foster a strong therapeutic alliance in the telehealth setting.
Leanne Hopkins is an Occupational Therapist at Succeed Healthcare Solutions and is passionate about creating a world where families thrive. If you or someone you know is interested in undertaking therapy via telehealth with a team trained and experienced in telehealth for several years, please contact us and arrange a free 15-minute Discovery Interview to see how we can assist.