Maintaining Your Therapist-Client Relationship

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Maintaining Your Therapist-Client Relationship

Now more than ever, maintaining your relationships with your clients is important. With various ordinances and rules around the country, it can be difficult for both you and your clients to be as consistent in your routines as you once were. However, the best thing you can do for your client outside of the therapy interventions is to develop and maintain a positive working relationship. Here’s what you need to know to achieve a successful one. 

Establish Boundaries 

The goal is to provide a positive professional relationship, not a personal one. The duty of care as a provider helps to define this as you limit the scope of the relationship to things that pertain to therapy. The relationship should last the duration of the treatment and only at the treatment location. Realize that you are in a position of power over them and that they are trusting you with their care and their story. 

Understand Your Patient 

It’s important to understand the audience you are speaking to in each interaction. Each gender, age, sex, and culture will expect different types of verbal and nonverbal behavior. Additionally, along with these demographics, you should be aware of their emotional state in terms of stress and depression given the tumultuous last year we have all had. 


When we say listen, we mean active listening. Play an active role in understanding their pain levels and concerns. They may try to discuss items outside of their relation to therapy and you should still try to take the time to listen to their story. You may be one of the few people they talk to outside of work depending on quarantine protocols. Give them room to talk and for you to listen in each interaction you have with them both in person and virtually. 


Be clear in your communication with the patient and sensitive in your response to their concerns. You should make them feel equal by gently discussing their concerns, clearly describing the treatment plan as well as making sure to tell them how you believe this treatment will help. 

We have so much beyond our clinical expertise to offer clients. Become a NARA member to take advantage of our resources for rehabilitation providers.