Rapport

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Origin

Middle French raport, Anglo-Norman and Middle French, French rapport action of reporting, report (1214 in Old French as raiport), reference (c1370), relationship, connection (1538) < rapporter to bring back, to report (second half of the 12th cent. in Anglo-Norman and Old French as raporter), to refer to (a1349 in the construction s'en rapporter à), to form a relationship with, to be related to (1538)

Definition

Description

Rapport is a term used to describe, in common terms, that two or more people feel in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel alike.

It stems from an old French verb rapporter which means literally to carry something back; and in the sense of how people relate to each other means that what one person sends out the other sends back, for example they may realize that they share similar values, beliefs, knowledge, or behaviors.

There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport such as: matching your body language (i.e., posture, gesture, etc.); maintaining eye contact; and matching breathing rhythm.

A classic if unusual example of rapport can be found in the book Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley, about the psychotherapeutic intervention techniques of Milton Erickson. Erickson developed the ability to enter the world view of his patients and, from that vantage point (having established rapport), he was able to make extremely effective interventions (to help his patients overcome life problems).