International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Therapeutic Communication and Client Counseling: Toward a Conceptual Framework for Strategic Interpersonal Engagement
Ephraim Okoro, PhD; Patrick Adigwe, PhD

This study operationalizes strategic communication in the context of counseling environment. It emphasizes the concept of strategic communication as an outgrowth of therapeutic engagement between clients and counselors. It then explains that strategic communication is intended to achieve a counselor’s purpose or mission and therapeutic interaction is designed to create an advantageous relationship for the client, which is the focus of counselor-client relationship. In the comparison and contrast of the two communication concepts, the study synthesizes that therapeutic communication utilizes effective verbal and nonverbal behaviors, as well as cross-cultural communication competence, to cultivate a relationship that fosters free and open sharing of information and ideas between healthcare professionals and their clients. Studies (Knapp & Hall, 2002; Duggan, 2006) indicate that clients differ significantly in their backgrounds, race, ethnicity, and nationality; therefore, strategic communication correlates with therapeutic interactive process in which human empathy and relationship building is the focus in client treatment. Fundamentally, this study suggests that counselors’ effective use of communicative, strategic, and therapeutic skills in counseling and treatment procedures facilitates the establishment of a trusting and respectful relationship, resulting in a rapid client/patient recovery. Consequently, the overall treatment experience is less stressful for clients, allowing the cultivation of increased trust and dependability on counselors and the treatment process is exceedingly fast. The study then concludes that strategic communication correlates with therapeutic engagement, which is an objective, purposeful, and empathic form of clinical interaction designed to eliminate unnecessary agonizing and time-consuming clients’ treatment. Recommendations provided include avoiding non-therapeutic type of communication, such as engaging in personal/intimate discussions, creating argumentative/defensive/aggressive solicitation and response format, and elimination of abrupt change of subject, which discourages a two-way exchange of information.

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