The Importance of Good Rapport in Therapy

Illustration showing two people on the same wavelength

Put simply, rapport means getting on well with somebody. We often say that rapport is when two people “are on the same wavelength.” It is the key to any effective communication and when it comes to therapy, good rapport is essential.

There are many ways to achieve rapport with people and improve communications in all aspects of your life. Looking someone in the eye and truly listening to them is extremely effective. People know when you are listening and when you are not. When you make someone feel comfortable, you can then ask them questions about their life. You can join in their beliefs systems, and talk about your mutual views of the world. By doing so, you build better bonds with them.

Establishing rapport

The most frequently promoted technique for establishing rapport is known as pacing and leading. It refers to observing aspects of a person’s body language and emulating it in a subtle manner. At first, you follow – that’s the pacing part of the equation. Once you have got into a kind of dance, where you’re both making pretty much the same movements, then you start to initiate movements that will lead to relaxation and feelings of comfort, like settling back in the chair, for instance. That’s the leading part of it.

Another way to establish or improve rapport with someone is to have some understanding of basic body language patterns. Whilst not as powerful as some would have you believe, it certainly helps from a therapeutic perspective. For example, my understanding of body language means I am usually able to instantly recognise when a person is feeling uncomfortable, or when he or she is holding back and not telling me something that is important in order to be successful in my efforts with them. It also enables me to recognise whether or not my rapport building skills are working.

Good rapport is essential for effective therapy

Good rapport is probably the most important ingredient to successful therapy and it is even suspected in some quarters, if the rapport is good enough, then the therapist does not need to be particularly skilled – I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that, but when it comes to hypnotherapy there is no doubt that rapport is extremely important.

As a hypnotherapist I want my clients to feel as relaxed and comfortable with me as they can with their loved ones so that they can open up about their feelings, as if they have known me for years. At a deeper level, any client in this good rapport situation will have a strong belief that he or she will get better and stay better, and that the therapy is going to help them change their life as necessary. Rapport will also ensure that whilst they instantly understand and accept my advice, they will also understand it still requires them to share the work. As such, they will start to actually try to heal themselves, which means they will start to search for signs of improvement, rather than indicators of failure – and before long they will find such a sign and then we are on our way. Or rather, they are!

If rapport cannot be established then this would obviously be highly counterproductive to any type of therapy. With hypnotherapy it is essential that the person can relax and trust whoever it is that is guiding them through the hypnotic state. In one to one therapy you have to be able to open up and be honest about your feelings and certain details of your life. It is obviously much easier to tell someone about your personal thoughts and feelings if there is good rapport.

It all comes down to trust. When there is trust in place, then you are able to feel safe and secure in the relationship. Good rapport removes any potential blockages between a client and therapist, allowing communication to flow freely. The better the rapport, the more effective the hypnotherapy will be. It is simple; hypnotherapy works best when the hypnotherapist has a clear picture of what the client needs and wants to achieve.

Rapport exists within self hypnosis recordings too

How do you get rapport with a hypnotherapist when you are listening to a recording such as a self hypnosis download or CD? Well, believe it or not, you actually can develop good rapport with the hypnotherapist this way. As you listen to the voice of the hypnotist, you begin to feel you know them. They are in a way speaking directly to you about something possibly quite intimate. When you feel safe and secure with this voice, you have developed good rapport. I know from some of the testimonials we’ve received that people have mentioned that they have become quite fond of me after listening to my sessions, despite us having never met in person. That is always nice to hear.

Whether it is in one to one therapy or by listing to audio sessions, hypnosis is about relaxing and feeling secure. Having rapport with your hypnotherapist, and also with the people in your life, can make a world of difference to your experiences.