Pentagon Think



Interpersonal techniques


Many practitioners who specialize in child and family counseling are familiar with the interpersonal techniques acronym rating system. The rating system uses positive, negative, neutral, or mixed values to identify a particular interpersonal technique. When assessing interpersonal techniques it is important to remember that they should not be used as a standard for all situations. Rather, they are a good starting point for evaluating how a particular therapist responds to different situations and families.


This paper describes some of the most effective interpersonal techniques in terms of dealing with various institutional/dynamic and experimental styles of treatment. Each technique is described and examples are provided to illustrate appropriate and unacceptable client responses to specific patient behaviors. It is important to note that these interpersonal techniques are not intended to be exhaustive; rather, they are meant to provide an introduction to the basic interpersonal communications skills of a therapist. In doing so, this helps the reader to become more knowledgeable about the important interpersonal communication skills that all therapists need to have in order to effectively practice interpersonal therapy. They are also useful for professionals who are just beginning their professional careers.


The effectiveness of interpersonal techniques depends upon how they are practiced, when they are practiced, and who they are practiced by. An effective communication skills repertoire consists of at least four core communication skills: listening, asking questions, giving feedback, and interconnecting with the client. All therapists should develop an effective communication skills set if they expect to be effective at communicating with their clients.


Communication is fundamental to all of our lives and requires us to engage each time we engage with another person. Developing and maintaining effective communication skills requires us to know how to listen appropriately, how to accurately convey our message, and how to respond appropriately in conflict situations. There are many types of interpersonal communication techniques and many different types of therapists.


One of the most popular techniques used by therapists is called the matching technique. The match is a type of questioning designed to determine the client’s level of detail, emotional depth, and insight. Matching techniques require that the therapist ask the right questions to find out where the client is in the therapy process. The Matching Technique is very effective as it allows the client to control the direction of the conversation based on feedback they receive.


Another effective interpersonal technique is known as rapport-building. A rapport-building technique is built on established connections between people. When people are familiar with one another, they will be able to spontaneously develop rapport. This is a powerful method as it has been proven to decrease stress levels and increase productivity. A skilled therapist will be able to identify effective rapport-building methods during individual or group counseling.


The challenge with rapport building lies in the fact that there are a wide variety of techniques available to therapists. There are some that work well and others that don’t. A good way to determine how a particular technique will work is to observe the reactions of the clients and use the same techniques on them without their prior consent. If a technique doesn’t seem to work, then the client may need a different approach to building rapport.


There are other types of interpersonal techniques available to help clients address issues. It all depends on the individual needs of the person receiving therapy. A skilled therapist will be able to find the best ways to help the client succeed. Once the techniques have been determined, the client and therapist will be able to focus on resolving the problem through more effective communication.