Some speech therapists may define ‘rapport’ as being well-liked by the clients they serve. According to Webster’s International Dictionary, rapport is defined as a transient “relationship characterized by harmony, accord, and affinity.” Three qualities have consistently been identified which help establish rapport in the therapy setting- empathy, respect, and warmth.
Research shows that the outcomes of treatment tend to be predicted by the quality of a therapist and client relationship. Positive relationships between therapists and their clients often yield positive outcomes and progress within therapy. For speech therapists, relationships with clients matter just as much as the actual purposes of therapy. Research into therapist-client relationships suggests that children are often more able to remember their therapist’s personality rather than the tasks they completed in a given session. In a study of therapist-client relationships, parents rated overall rapport in the school setting as lower than in a more private, individualized setting. Research shows that the key to developing rapport especially with young children is to integrate play with work and to make therapy as child-oriented as possible. Rapport is often established in the earliest parts of therapy but is what ensues throughout the duration of therapy. Research shows that rapport must not just be established at the very beginning, but must also be maintained over time. As therapists at Wee Speech, P.C, we are as intentional in developing rapport as we are in providing treatment to our clients because the attitude clients have about therapy sets the stage for what they can achieve.
Establishing Rapport with Young Children During Speech and Language Diagnostic Evaluation (Geraldine Pattison, Thomas Powell)-National Student Speech Language Association Journal, Volume 17, 77-80 (1989-1990)