According to Mottram a therapeutic interpersonal relationship may be defined as one which is perceived by patients to encompass caring and supportive non judgemental behaviour embedded in a safe environment during and often stressful period. critically analyse this statement in relation to nursing practice.
A therapeutic interpersonal relationship can be defined as one which is perceived by patients to encompass caring, and supportive nonjudgmental behavior, embedded in a safe environment during an often stressful period.1 These relationships can last for a brief moment in time or continue for extended periods.2 Typically, this type of relationship displays warmth, friendliness, genuine interest, empathy, and the wish to facilitate and support.3 Consequently, therapeutic interpersonal relationships engender a climate for interactions that facilitate effective communication.4 Therapeutic interpersonal relationships between health care professionals and patients are associated with improvements in patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment, quality of life, levels of anxiety and depression, and decreased health care costs.4–6 Conversely, increased psychological distress and feelings of dehumanization are associated with negative clinician–patient relationships.4
In the health care literature, numerous terms have been used to describe this type of relationship, including helping relationships, purposeful relationships, nurse–client relationships, and therapeutic alliances. For the purpose of this review, they have been grouped under the term “therapeutic interpersonal relationship” as they all relate to a focused relationship between the health professional and the patient directed at achieving the best patient outcome. The concept is also interrelated with that of patient-centered care. Patient-centered care (also known as person-centered or patient- and family-centered care) describes a standard of care that ensures the patient and their family are at the center of care delivery.7 Patient-centered care requires health care professionals to have the ability to form therapeutic interpersonal relationships that elicit patients’ true wishes and recognize and respond to both their needs and emotional concerns.