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Using Silence

sitting quietly and waiting attentively until client is able to put thoughts and feelings into words

Providing General Leads

"can you tell me how it is for you?", "perhaps you would like to talk about...", "would it help to discuss your feelings?"

Being Specific and Tentative

"are you in pain?", "rate your pain on a scale...", "you seem unconcerned about your diabetes"

Using Open-Ended Questions

"I'd like to hear more about that", "tell me about...", "how have you been feeling lately?"

Using Touch

putting an arm over client's shoulder, placing hand over client's hand

Restating or Rephrasing

repeating clients thoughts and feelings in similar message

Seeking Clarification

"I'm puzzled", "would you please say that again?", "I'm not sure I understand that"

Perception Checking

clarifying that verifies the meaning of specific words rather than the overall meaning of message

Offering Self

"I'll stay with you until your daughter arrives", "I'll help you dress to go home if you like"

Giving Information

"your surgery is scheduled for 11 AM tomorrow", "you will feel a pulling sensation when the tube is removed from your abdomen"


"you trimmed your beard and mustache and washed your hair", "you walked twice as far today with your walker"

Clarifying Time or Sequence

helping client clarify an event, situation, or happening in a relationship to time

Presenting Reality

"that telephone ring came from the television program", "your magazine is here in the drawer. it has not been stolen"


helping client expand on and develop a topic of importance


directing ideas, feelings, questions, or content back to clients to enable them to explore their own ideas and feelings about a situation

Summarizing and Planning

"during the past half hour we have talked about...", "tomorrow afternoon we may explore this further", "tomorrow, I will look at your feeling journal"


"two-year olds are brats", "women are complainers", "men don't cry"

Agreeing and Disagreeing

imply that the client is either right or wrong and that the nurse is in the position to judge this

Being Defensive

attempting to protect a person or health care services from negative comments


giving a response that makes clients prove their statement or point of view


asking for information chiefly out of curiosity rather than the with the intent to assist the client


"who do you think you are?", "do you think I am not busy?"


"I don't want to discuss that, let's talk about...", "let's discuss other areas of interest to you rather than the two problems you keep mentioning"

Changing Topics and Subjects

"I can't talk now, I'm on my way for coffee break", "let's get ready for physical therapy and we'll discuss this issue later"

Unwarranted Reassurance

"you'll feel better soon", "I'm sure everything will turn out all right", "don't worry"

Passing Judgment

"that's good", "You shouldn't do that", "that's not good enough"

Giving Common Advice

"if I were you, I'd go to a nursing home", "my mother used tea as part of her therapy"

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