The art of listening in the therapeutic relationship
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The art of listening in the therapeutic relationship

Theodore Stickley Lecturer in mental health, University of Nottingham
Dawn Freshwater Professor of nursing, Bournemouth University

The role of the modern mental health nurse is becoming more technical when, argue Theodore Stickley and Dawn Freshwater, what would really benefit patients is the often misunderstood art of listening

Nursing, it has been argued, involves the formation of a meaningful relationship through the development of an effective interpersonal process (Freshwater 2003). Nursing writers and theorists have for some time extolled the importance of high quality nurse-patient communication (see, for example, Burnard 1998, Tschudin 1996, Peplau 1952). Nearly two decades ago Fielding and Llewelyn (1987) pointed out that effective nurse-patient communication was central to the quality of care that patients received, stating rather poignantly that: ‘Communication is both one of the most demanding and difficult aspects of a nurse’s job, and one which is frequently avoided or done badly although central to the quality of patient care.’

Mental Health Practice. 9, 5, 12-18. doi: 10.7748/mhp2006.

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