When two people meet for the first time they know nothing about one another. It is the therapist’s job to be observant and ask questions to start things rolling. It is important to ask open-ended questions that elicit relevant information. Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and usually start with ‘who, what, where, how, when etc’.
Questions such as “What made you decide to see me?” will elicit a relevant, content rich response. This can be used to help understand the patient’s problem and build rapport. Good rapport between the patient and the therapist enables more open discussion and is itself therapeutic for the patient.
Therapeutic intervention does not necessarily require detailed knowledge of the patient’s problem but the therapist does need to be able to identify what information is relevant to resolving the patient’s problem.
The patient may be reluctant to discuss their problem openly so early in the therapeutic relationship however, so pacing and early rapport building are essential to enable the patient to feel comfortable with sharing personal information.
Our ‘hypnotherapy skills and tips’ posts have been edited by Dr Andrew Bradfield and Dr Colin Baron from the teachings of BHRTS founder Stephen Brooks.