The Therapeutic Relationship

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The Therapeutic Relationship

A therapeutic relationship is a relationship which focuses on a client’s needs and is goal specific, theory-based and open to supervision as stated by Fletcher and Fontaine (1995). It can often be referred to as the nurse-client relationship. They also state that within the therapeutic relationship there is a ‘conscious process of working together toward mutually established goals’ and that this is referred to as a therapeutic alliance.
Stein-Parbury (2005) mentions that there is a ‘common distinction’ between therapeutic relationships and social relationships, and that the professional relationship is ‘goal directed’. From this we can understand that therapeutic relationships are professional relationships rather than friendships and their sole purpose is to exist until that goal has been achieved. Fletcher and Fontaine (1995) explain that the therapeutic relationship has 3 stages which are the introduction, the working phase and the termination. The introductory phase is the time when the client and nurse or nursing team first come into contact with one another. They are introduced to each other and client assessments can then begin, providing consent is granted.
The working phase commences when goals have been set following the initial assessment and it is here that the therapeutic alliance can begin.
The final stage of the therapeutic relationship as stated by Fletcher and Fontaine (1995) is the termination phase. This is when the end goal has been achieved and a time to reminisce and reflect about the experiences encountered throughout the therapeutic relationship.
Interpersonal skills are required to form a professional therapeutic relationship. Stein-Parbury (2005) states that interpersonal skills of communicating and relating are central to developing socially competent nurses. In addition to this, active listening is

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