Therapeutic relationships in intellectual disability nursing practice
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Therapeutic relationships in intellectual disability nursing practice

Gerard Crotty Registered intellectual disability nurse, Daughters of Charity St Vincent’s Centre, Limerick, Ireland
Owen Doody Lecturer, University of Limerick

Gerard Crotty and Owen Doody describe the nurse-client relationship through its essential building blocks of engagement, empathy, communication and trust

The therapeutic relationship is an interpersonal affiliation between a nurse and a client. It is central to the growth of interdependent psychological, emotional, cognitive, social and behavioural skills necessary for an individual’s development. The therapeutic relationship is also a fundamental component of nursing practice and a means by which nurses engage with and effect change in individuals. It predicts treatment outcome across a range of diagnoses and healthcare settings, and can become central to quality of life. This article examines the therapeutic relationship within intellectual disability nursing. It highlights the role of the nurse and the meaning of the therapeutic relationship by identifying its four building blocks: engagement, empathy, communication and trust.

Learning Disability Practice. 18, 7, 25-29. doi: 10.7748/ldp.18.7.25.e1660


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 20 April 2015

Accepted: 22 June 2015