Building Rapport

Whenever I used to hear the word "rapport," I always thought of it as the ability to become friends with patients. To me, it seemed obvious that building this rapport would make patients want to come back. Friends are comfortable with each other, after all, and why would you engage in a patient-practitioner relationship with someone you weren't comfortable with? Yes, I always knew that the ability to build rapport was a necessity for having a thriving practice, but I never thought of this connection as being essential to the healing process. After all, there are lots of very successful doctors out there who are very good at what they do, despite coming across as narcissistic jackasses. The more I think about it, however, the more I wonder if this connection between patient and practitioner is a catalyst for healing. I think about times when I have been sick, and miraculously revived after a good talk with an old friend. Or about all the times when my mother would call me and tell me she could tell I had a headache, even if she hadn't seen me in a week. Usually, after these calls, I would start to feel better immediately. I think about all of the Reiki I have been practicing lately, and how much more dramatic the effects seem to be when I am working on someone I know well. And I think about all of the patients I have had through the years that I have truly connected with. I can't tell you how many times I have heard patients say that they had tried acupuncture in the past with no results, but once they were on my table they noticed a difference immediately. I used to think that it was just a matter of varying treatment styles, and that they just didn't give the other practitioners a fair chance to show results. I now wonder, though, if the trust established through a meaningful connection could have dramatically altered the effects of their session. So now I ask of you all: how much do you think the relationship between the patient and practitioner influences the results of a treatment?