Nontherapeutic Communication in Nursing: Techniques, Types & Examples

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  • 0:00 Demeaning Phrases
  • 0:35 Nontherapeutic Communication
  • 1:05 Advising & Defending
  • 1:59 Disagreeing & Interpreting
  • 2:44 Probing & Rejecting
  • 3:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Nontherapeutic communication can shut down valuable communication between a nurse and patient. In this lesson, you'll learn the definition of nontherapeutic communication and see several examples.

Demeaning Phrases

Have you ever heard a couple arguing in front of you? Or maybe you've been part of such an argument. One of the most annoying things anyone can say to you during an argument is, 'I don't want to listen to that.' It's demeaning, right? The fact is that another person who is supposed to care for you doesn't care enough to hear you out. Rejection stinks.

Rejection and other nontherapeutic communication methods seem even worse when it comes to the medical field. Let's go over examples of nontherapeutic communication in the healthcare field.

Nontherapeutic Communication

The best way to define nontherapeutic communication is to understand its converse, therapeutic communication. Therapeutic communication is a combination of verbal and nonverbal communication techniques that helps improve a patient's physical and mental wellbeing.

Thus, nontherapeutic communication involves various words, phrases, actions, and tones that make a patient feel uncomfortable, increase their stress, and worsen their overall mental, and perhaps even physical, wellbeing.

Advising & Defending

Let's go over some examples of these nontherapeutic techniques. One of these is advising, or telling the patient what he or she needs to do. Children don't like being told what to do and adults probably like it even less. 'Why don't you. . .' implies to the patient that the nurse believes they and only they know what's best for the patient when this may or may not be the case.

Another nontherapeutic communication technique is defending, or trying to protect a person, place, or idea from a verbal attack. An example of this may be a client saying something negative about a doctor and the nurse saying, 'The doctor is only looking out for you.' This basically tells the patient that their critique is unfounded and that the patient shouldn't express their feelings or opinions. Defending only serves to reinforce the patient's opinion and shut down further communication.

Disagreeing & Interpreting

Another nontherapeutic communication technique is disagreeing, or opposing whatever idea the patient has expressed. By saying something like, 'That's wrong,' you aren't just saying to the client that their idea is wrong. It goes deeper than that. Saying 'That's wrong,' basically tells the patient that they themselves are wrong, not just the idea itself. It becomes personal. This makes the patient defensive. And, you just learned that being defensive isn't all that great for communication.

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