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Understanding the cues and strategies counsellors use to develop rapport with clients through telephone counselling

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Karen Phillip, MCoun, Nathan Beel, PhD, Senior Lecturer, University of Southern Queensland, and Tanya Machin, PhD, Senior Lecturer, University of Southern Queensland.

 

Abstract

Rapport is a critical part of the counselling process, however most existing research has examined rapport in a face-to-face context. The aim of this study was to better understand the cues and strategies counsellors used to build rapport over the telephone. We interviewed nine counsellors with a range of qualifications and telephone counselling experiences. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. Three themes were identified: use of empathy, emphasis on paralanguage cues, and intentional harmonisation. The findings of this study contribute to the literature, counsellor training, and supervision by understanding the cues and strategies counsellors indicate they use to develop rapport with clients over the telephone.

 

Keywords: telephone counselling, rapport, non-verbal communication, therapeutic relationship

 

Address for correspondence:
Karen Phillip
Email:karendp@bigpond.net.au