I looked to her as a guide: the therapeutic relationship in hand therapy

Disabil Rehabil. 2011;33(10):872-81. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.511419. Epub 2011 Jan 18.


Purpose: To illustrate important dimensions of the therapeutic relationship in a hand therapy patient-therapist dyad.

Method: This instrumental case study utilised narrative analysis of semi-structured interviews of a patient-therapist dyad.

Results: Four dimensions of the therapeutic relationship were identified. These were (1) humour to promote reciprocity, (2) ordinary conversation to build rapport, (3) social comparison to promote acceptance and (4) attention as caring.

Conclusions: The therapeutic relationship is not a one-way flow from therapist to patient but a mutual exchange between equals. However, it is the therapist who is responsible for establishing the environment for the therapeutic relationship to develop and flourish.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Wit and Humor as Topic