Hello! I hope you’ve all had an amazing 4th of July!

This week I am reflecting on rapport. This is SO important in the therapeutic process and in building a therapeutic relationship. We talked a lot about this in school, but I didn’t realize just how important building rapport is until recently.

Over the past couple weeks, I have begun leading lots of new sessions. Most of these clients had already been seeing one of my supervisors, so when I started leading I just jumped in where they left off. 

This wasn’t always successful. I couldn’t figure out why clients would participate with my supervisor, but not with me. My supervisor pointed out that they don’t know me very well yet and I hadn’t built rapport with them. So, my next session I simply focused on building this therapeutic relationship.

It’s amazing what building trust and rapport does. In that next session, I gave the client choices and was not strict about what we would do. They immediately opened up to me. Giving them a choice and a sense of working together did marvelous things.

Though the client had choices and directed where the session went, we were still able to address their goals. I need to continue building this rapport, and as time goes on, the relationship I have built with the client will allow me to challenge the client in different ways.

Here are some ways that you can build rapport in your sessions:

  • Give the client lots of choices (i.e. what instrument to play or what song to sing)
  • Ask questions to get to know the client
  • Let the client choose the order of the interventions
  • Use client-preferred music

Therapy is a process, and that process right now includes building rapport with most of my clients. This will help immensely now and in the future. Though I want to focus on building the therapeutic relationship, this doesn’t mean I’m not also finding ways to address their goals. It’s all a balance. 

If you’re a student or intern working with new clients and things just don’t seem to be working, try taking a step back and building rapport. It’ll do wonders for you and your client!

I have been building rapport with my clients by giving them lots of choices during sessions; how do you build rapport?

Thanks for reading!

Emma Kovachevich