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therapeutic conversation - PLU - Pacific Lutheran University


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									Verbal & Nonverbal Interaction                                       Analysis

Mrs. R: (Smiling, pleasant expression), “Good

in an alert, coherent, and interested tone.] Mrs.

R’s daughter, who was visiting, was in the room

and was also in a happy, welcoming mood.            I try to set up an environment with the “offering

Mrs. R. was sitting in her wheelchair by her        “self” therapeutic technique buy showing Mrs.

Bed. I had been asked by the nursing staff to       R. that I am interested in speaking with her and

help Mrs. R use the restroom and then help          have the time to really listen. I assess that Mrs.

her get dressed for the day. I had not initially    R. is a happy, positive person based on my

intended to use this encounter for my               initial interaction with her, and I interpret her

therapeutic conversation, but the conversation      body language to mean she welcomes a

seemed so natural and engaging that I knew          conversation with me.

this was the perfect opportunity.

SN Megan: Taking Mrs. R’s hand and shaking it I     I “use touch” technique here along with eye

Respond, “Yes I am. My name is Megan. How           contact at her level to demonstrate a

are you doing this morning Mrs. R.?” I also         professional but also friendly attitude

acknowledged Mrs. R’s daughter with a nod           towards Mrs. R. Her handshake indicated to

and a smile in her direction.                       me she was also friendly and enjoyed

                                                    conversations with people.

Mrs. R: “Oh…I’m as good as can be expected, I

guess. I have good days and bad days, but           Although she is looking down at her body and

today is not too bad luckily.” Mrs. R was looking   referring to “bad days”, I get the impression

down towards her body when she said this, and       that Mrs. R. is an optimistic person who makes

I sensed that she suffers from physical pain.       the best of her situation. I assume her bad days

                                                    are painful, but that she tries to stay positive.
SN Megan: “Oh I see. I am glad to hear you are         Here I try to “share empathy” when I express

having a good day today. What are your bad             my understanding of Mrs. R’s situation. I am

days like?”                                            also “focusing” when I ask her an

                                                       open-ended question to which she can

Mrs. R: “Well, I recently had surgery on my hip        elaborate her response on.

and sometimes the darn thing hurts so bad that

I don’t get a good night’s sleep. It’s a little        I “use silence” technique as she discusses her

sore and tender sometimes, depending on how            health to demonstrate I am “actively listening”

active I am trying to be throughout the day.”          to her and concerned for her feelings.

SN Megan: “Wow, it sounds like your body has           This comment demonstrates the “restatement”

been through a lot of stress lately; have you been     technique by repeating to the client the main

participating in any physical therapy since your       content of her communication. I also “ask

surgery?”                                              relevant questions” for her to expound on.

Mrs. R: “No. I’m not ready for all that just yet. I

am really trying to take it easy, and my doctor        I confirm my already existing opinion that Mrs.

wants me to let my body heal slowly and carefully      R is very coherent and alert to her surroundings

right now. I get up and walk around when I can,        and situation. She seems to understand her

but not much beyond that. Most of the time I           health very well and has an active interest in

just enjoy this chair and a good book!”                recovery.

[paralanguage: humorous tone, with a full smile]

SN Megan: “Well that sounds like the life! That is     Here I use “self-disclosure” by talking about

exactly what I would be doing to, I love to read but   myself as a way to relate to her.

I never feel like I have enough time for it.”
A short silence takes place, and then I decide to      I am once again “using silence” technique to

start my assigned work while continuing the            offer time and comfort for her to talk to me.


SN Megan: “Well Mrs. R, I was told you would like      I “used touch” here again when I put my hand

some help using the restroom and I am here to          on her back as I spoke to her. I lowered myself

help you with that. Then, if you want to pick out      to her level and kept eye contact and a lowered,

something to wear today I will help you get            steady voice as I spoke.

dressed. I don’t want to take up any more of your

visiting time, I hope I am not interrupting. Are the

two of you going somewhere or just staying here


Mrs. R: “Oh, you are not interrupting at all. The      Mrs. R and I “shared humor” here when we

two of us run out of things to say to each other       smiled and laughed after her comment. I felt

anyway, [paralanguage: humorous tone]. I am            it kept the atmosphere casual and comfortable.

actually going to stay in my pajamas today because

it’s pajama day today.”

SN Megan: “Oh, that’s right! Well I can just help

you use the restroom then and anything else you

need and then just get out of your way.”

At this time I helped Mrs. R use the restroom and

took the opportunity to ask about her experience

with the staff and perhaps her family.
SN Megan: “So has your experience with your             I realized when I asked the question this way I

doctor and the staff here been pleasant?                did not ask it with an open end, and could be

                                                        answered with a simple yes or no.

Mrs. R: “Oh yea, they’re all good to me. There

are a lot of good people here. It’s not as easy

as being home, but we all have a fun relationship

here. Actually, nurse M. and I have become good


SN Megan: “Well I am so glad to hear that, and I        I “provided information” to Mrs. R to let her

really appreciate the time you took to talk to me       know I would be available and willing to help

this morning. If there is anything else you need        her with anything she might need. I also shared

please let me know. I will be here for a few more       my appreciation with her for how much I

hours, so feel free to call back on me for anything.“   speaking with her during our conversation.

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