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Enhancing teaching relationships through therapeutic use of self

Bronwen Williams (Training and Education Department, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucester, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine how the skills involved in building therapeutic relationships, especially the therapeutic use of self, in clinical work can transfer in to teaching, making reference to the supporting education theory.


A review of relevant education and health literature was undertaken.


Mental health practitioners’ skills transfer with good effect to the classroom, therefore clinicians who deliver teaching to mental health colleagues can be seen to be highly effective in promoting excellent learning environments. The teacher, and their teaching, needs to be student focused in the same way that the clinician needs to be patient centred to build the best possible relationships to support development and change.


The therapeutic relationship is a fundamental element of mental health work and similarly, the relationships that the teachers develop with students are essential to the promotion of learning environments. However, what creates the teacher-student relationship has been little examined in the literature and this paper suggests that the core elements of the therapeutic relationship, especially therapeutic use of self, transfer to the teaching relationship to impact on learning for mental health staff.



Williams, B. (2015), "Enhancing teaching relationships through therapeutic use of self", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 61-70.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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