Core Communication Skills in Mental Health Nursing


Communication in mental health nursing is an essential component of all therapeutic interventions. The knowledge and interpersonal skills that a nurse uses to communicate are essential aspects of helping the person who is experiencing mental health problems or distress, as well as facilitating the development of a positive nurse–client relationship. This requires the mental health nurse to use a range of appropriate and effective communication and engagement skills with individuals, their carers and other significant people involved in their care. This chapter examines the verbal and non-verbal communication skills that are most relevant to mental health nursing, and illustrates how each skill can be used in practice.


  • Introduction
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Listening
  • Listening to Non-Verbal Communication
  • The SOLER Position
  • Listening to Verbal Communication
  • Framework for Listening and Attending to Clients
  • Practice Exercise
  • Touch
  • Silence
  • Reflecting Skills
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarizing
  • Probing Skills
  • Other Useful Probing Questions
  • Unhelpful Questions
  • Using Skills in Practice
  • Conclusion
  • Reflective Questions
Contact Person/Organization: 

Jean Morrissey and Patrick Callaghan

Type of Tool:

Publication Date: 

Therapeutic Communication Skills