i agree completely regarding the use of rapport building conversation at the start of these encounters. in our busy clinical settings, it can seem challenging to find the time. but in my experience, taking 5-10 minutes to get to know the patient, especially who they are apart from their recent cancer diagnosis, pays off tremendously in the long run. skills that were emphasized in the modules, such as reflective listening and validation, can go a long way in establishing a trusting, therapeutic relationship – and a foundation upon which to have these personal and sometimes challenging conversations.

i work in a pediatric hospital and am often navigating the role of parents for both pediatric and adult patients. an additional question i like to explore with patients is their preferences for ongoing conversation with their parents (ie are they okay talking about the content of our individual session with their parents, do they prefer to be the one to bring it up, would they prefer to talk to one of their parents individually +/- having a clinician present to help facilitate, etc.).

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