Therapeutic communication strategies used by Hong Kong mental health nurses with their chinese clients

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Therapeutic communication is central to mental health nursing and through this process nurse-client relationships can be enhanced. In Hong Kong, mental health nurses are educated in ‘western’ theories and strategies in using therapeutic communication and the field of communication is predominantly Eurocentric. However, the majority of people in Hong Kong are Chinese and little research has been conducted into how Hong Kong nurses communicate with their Chinese clients.
This qualitative study focused on identifying the therapeutic communication strategies used by mental health nurses with Chinese clients in Hong Kong. Three case study vignettes with some of the characteristics of Chinese culture were developed to elicit information about the strategies that respondents used in therapeutic communication. The purposive sample of 20 comprised 10 admission ward nurses and 10 community nurses from two psychiatric hospitals. All participants had at least five years post­registration experience.
Content analysis revealed categories of communication and theme clusters for the nurses’ response to the vignettes. The result showed a unique cultural influence emerged in communication patterns. In view of the scant nature of existing literature and studies in this area, this research provided some valuable data for further studies. Implications for mental health nursing education and practice in Hong Kong are raised, as are implications for nurses working in multicultural countries such as Australia, the UK and the USA, where there are significant numbers of Chinese clients who would benefit from nurses practising with a deeper understanding of communication strategies which are culturally bound.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing