One reason for being reluctant to start a conversation with a patient when there’s so much else to do is the concern about how to keep it contained and necessarily brief. But there are some simple techniques for ending conversations in a way that feels good for you and for the patient.
If it’s been quite an intense or emotional conversation for the patient, it’s really important to end it in a way that makes them feel OK. You know what’s coming next…. It’s very important to be mind-aware! What might the patient be thinking most about at this moment? What are they feeling? What’s going on for you? These three steps always help.
1. Checking how the patient feels:
‘How are you feeling now?’
2. Acknowledging how the patient feels:
If the patient says they still feel upset/angry/frustrated, you could say something like:
‘I’m sorry that you still feel upset/angry/frustrated.’
If the patient feels better than before the conversation, something along the lines of:
‘Well that’s good. I’m really pleased that you feel a bit better’
Letting the patient know that there will be more opportunities to talk:
‘Let’s catch up again later on/tomorrow/later this week’
Psychotherapists are very experienced at ending sessions, bang on 50 minutes! (They’re usually more ﬂexible about other conversations!) Staff can borrow these phrases:
- Sorry but we need to ﬁnish now
- I’m afraid we’ve run out of time
- I’m sorry but that’s all the time we’ve got today
This ‘ﬁnishing up’ phrase can be followed with something like:
- Thank you for being so frank with me
- Thanks for chatting with me
- Thanks. I’ve enjoyed this conversation
- Thanks for letting me get to know you better. I really admire…
and then something like:
- the way you have coped with such a tough situation
- how strong you’ve been through all this
- your sense of humour despite how sad you’re feeling
- the way you’ve continued looking after your kids so well when you’ve been going through such a terrible time
Q. 1 What phrases do you use,or might you use in future to wrap up a conversation?
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