S2-E55 – Diving Deeper into Therapeutic Relationships within Telehealth Care

Hosts Andrew and Maxi continue the discussion about the challenges and unexpected benefits of working with patients in a telehealth environment. Following up to Episode 54 – Developing Therapeutic Relationships within the Telehealth Context, they dive into more detail around the specifics and practicalities of creating patient safety while conducting virtual sessions.

Maxi breaks down the definitions of Implicit Safety and Explicit Safety, and how activating the sympathetic nervous system impacts the patient’s engagement and physiology. Together they discuss the role of receptivity, the difference of listening to understand rather than listening to offer a solution, and how deepening the therapeutic relationship will develop naturally when you are open and curious, rather than expect a strict formula or linear process.

“Listening to a story isn’t about providing a solution. It’s about getting to know that person holistically.” – Maxi

They reflect on the added importance of paying more attention to our non-verbal behaviour with body positioning and gestures, to convey safe communication and build the level of engagement.

Some of the key topics discussed include:

  • How moving from a 3-D to a 2-D environment impacts a patient’s sense of safety. 
  • Negotiating a collaborative space of working together online, and the challenge of managing the distractions of their home environment, requiring the need to adapt and re-establish focus, engagement and patient safety. 
  • Suspending our desire for the outcome that we want, and being open and curious to listening to the patient’s story and having an open attitude.
  • The need for creativity and improvisation.

“I think the idea of experimentation is so powerful because that implies a collaboration. It’s an open way that holds the outcome more loosely and keeps us from judging, because we’re saying ‘let’s try this together’, and ‘we don’t know if it’s going to work.’” – Andrew

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