Essay On Rapport Building And Empathy

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In this essay, the importance of two skills - rapport building and empathy, to effective communication in healthcare are discussed. These skills play increasingly essential roles as healthcare delivery focuses evermore intently on achieving patient-centric experiences. The video, filmed with this in mind, depicts a client’s initial consultation to a podiatrist. A reflective piece on the effectiveness of therapist-client communication in the video is also discussed with reference to the skills.
Rapport Building
Rapport building refers to the verbal and nonverbal behaviours that one exhibit to develop a connection based on trust that would aid in effective communication (Barnett, 2001; Norfolk, et al., 2007). Essentially, it involves the things you would say and do to make the person you are communicating with feel at ease to disclose information and share emotions with you (Hazelwood & Shakespeare-Finch, 2011).
Active listening is central to building rapport. When one commits himself fully to listening, he is better able to empathise and make sense of things from the person’s perspective. Showing empathy thus reassures and encourages others to trust and open up. In fact, Norfolk, et al (2007) suggested that empathy is one of the biggest factors that influence doctor-patient rapport.
Merely listening however is insufficient to build rapport. Sharpley, et al (2000) showed that clients gave higher rapport ratings to counsellors who listened and responded effectively as compared to counsellors who were just “good listeners”. It was also observed that higher ratings were given when verbal encouragers, paraphrasing and empathic responses were used more extensively.
Verbal encouragers like “uh-huh” and “okay” provides client with feed...

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...of their predicament to be a challenge. I think this has to do with my mentality that since I now understand their difficulties, I must do more to help them find solutions, in a practical sense. I am not that attuned yet to the fact that through my empathic responses, I actually helped them feel and be better. Therefore, I aim to adopt this new perspective into my future communication.
Rapport building and empathy are two inter-related skills that ensure a harmonious therapist-client relationship. With a strong foundation in trust and mutual understanding, it is not hard then to achieve effective communication. As Norfolk et al (2007) mentioned, the quality of the doctor-patient communication is critical to the subsequent health outcomes of the patient. Hence, possessing these skills and using them effectively in communication is essential in healthcare.
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