Rhetoric Is “the art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). There are many benefits to using persuasion while working with clients. “Persuasion plays a key part in engendering attitudinal and behavioral change” (Hosannas & Machiavelli, 2013). Therapists are often trying to guide their clients towards behavioral changes and persuasion is a technique they can use to do so.
Another benefit is that we are able to “control the flow of conversation and are constantly reviewing the focus and the potential outcomes through conversational change techniques” (Atkinson, 2012). This means that as therapists we loud be able to see where a conversation with a client could be going In a negative direction and using our persuasive skills, we could turn the conversation back towards a more positive route. This also allows therapists to lead the client Into talking about Information that could help them understand the client better.
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Another benefit would be “having confidence to sell services and oneself” (Atkinson, 2012). It is important for the therapist to sell themselves to patients and others in the profession. In order for the client to feel comfortable and trust, the therapist needs to erasure the client that they are knowledgeable and able to help them. The therapist may also need to sell different techniques and tools to their client. Using persuasion they can inform the client about their best options for treatment moving forward.
Atkinson lays out five stages of the persuasion process, the first is preparation. “This requires doing a significant amount of research into the world of those with whom we will work” (Atkinson, 2012). In order for therapists to effectively persuade their clients they must be knowledgeably about their clients and the process f therapy Itself. By researching these areas they are familiarizing themselves with the possible outcomes that can happen during therapy. The next stage is building a relationship. This process is secured completely on building and maintaining rapport throughout the relationship” (Atkinson, 2012). The therapist needs to work on building a relationship with their client in order for the client to trust them. If the client doesn’t believe that the therapist has their best interest in mind it will be harder for the therapist to persuade their client. The third stage is identifying needs. “This activity is about the needs and wants of the clients, so keep quiet, and focus all your attention on the client” (Atkinson, 2012).
The therapist can learn a lot about the client by using active listening. In order to help the client It Is crucial that the therapist learn what the client wants to get out of therapy. Knowing this Information the therapist will be able to come up with better resources and techniques for the client. The next stage Is exploring options. ‘This means the facilitator, consultant, sales person; persuader etc. As to be extremely flexible” (Atkinson, 2012). This when coming up with a solution.
For example, the therapist can try and persuade the client into staying in treatment for another week but the client may want to leave that day. It is important for the therapist to look for other options in order to benefit the client, such as suggesting the client stay two more days instead of the whole week. The last stage is enabling agreement and closure. “Coming to a Win-win’ agreement should be a natural conclusion to consultative influencing, but you still have to close he agreement” (Atkinson, 2012).
This means that after the therapists tries persuading the client, there needs to be an ending agreement. In the example before, it could be the client agreeing to stay a few more days and then going from there. The client and therapists have come too conclusion. Rhetoric and persuasion will both be beneficial tools that I will be able to use in my future career. As a therapist I would be able to use them while working with a client in order to help them achieve their goals. I would also be able to use them while working with others n my profession in order to sell myself as a qualified therapist.