When it comes to the first consultation with an occupational therapist, there is bound to be a lot of free advice floating around. Over the years, there has evolved some common points that would make the first visit or the first consultation with a therapist memorable as well as productive. It is important in any activity to have the first steps correct and the below mentioned first ten steps would help ease those butterflies in the stomach and keep the visit smooth and fine flowing.
Clarity of language: That the patient must be able of convey the concerns and doubt that is bound to crop up at the very first meeting is paramount. The use of clear language that cuts out the ambiguities would go a long way toward this aim.
Audibility: The patient and the therapist must both be beard to each other. Using a sufficiently loud voice to speak to each other does help to achieve this.
Eye contact: Both the patient and the therapist must maintain eye contact right through the entire visit. This is bound to give out a positive body language as well as create a positive atmosphere and trust.
Non-verbal behavior: The meeting must last through out with a positive body language that would help gauge the condition of the patient as well as what the therapist aims at achieving with the patient.
Empathy: It is rather important that the therapist emphasizes with the patient that is being treated. An atmosphere that does not create a free flow of speech and though must not be encouraged during sessions.
Method of enquiry: The right tone of voice and body positioning that aims at free flow of speech and ease of mind must be maintained at each session and not just the first meeting. It is of particular importance as later meetings would be based on the impressions of the very first consultation.
Sensitivity: The therapist must show sensitivity to the patients’ thoughts. Most seasoned consultants would be alive to the need to listen properly and with concern as well.
Introduction of self: It is important that the therapist lets out the role that he would be playing in the proper handling of a prospective client. If the roles are well defined it would make it easier for all concerned to present the relevant points and thoughts to the therapist.
Clarification: Both the parties concerned must be clear on the way forward and the path that future sessions would go about. Thus the first visit would lay out the plan of action in most cases.
Summarizing and closing: That the first session with the therapist must be closed out on a positive note is important. No matter how difficult a situation might seem like, it is important that an air of hope is left to the client.
By following some simple common sense steeps it is possible to establish a good working relationship with the therapist from the very first visit itself. Most future sessions are decided upon by the consultant based on the first visit or exposure to the patient. That the patient is convinced of the abilities of the therapist is important to an effective relationship and the first visit would go a long way in establishing this.