The LEAP approach – Listen, empathise, agree, partner
The LEAP approach (Listen, Empathise, Agree, Partner), developed by Dr Xavier Amador, is an approach that can be useful when dealing with people who have poor insight.
LEAP is a way of communicating that encourages a person with a serious mental illness to accept treatment.
“Listen with only one goal: to understand the other person’s point of view and reflect your understanding back to him”
Effective listening involves sitting back and listening to the frustrations, fears, hopes and dreams of the person you care for, and repeating back your understanding of what has been said. You can use effective listening to stop yourself offering your opinion or advice.
“If you want someone to seriously consider your point of view, be certain he feels you have seriously considered this”
To empathise with another is to identify with their feelings, thoughts and attitudes. To convey your empathy to the person you care for you can acknowledge:
- that their delusional beliefs may be frightening
- their desire to prove they are not sick
- their wish to avoid treatment
“When you’re facing someone who rigidly holds irrational beliefs, you gain nothing by disagreeing”
It is important to reach an agreement. To do this:
- discuss only problems or symptoms perceived by the person you care for
- review advantages and disadvantages of treatment
- reflect back and highlight the perceived benefits
- if need be, agree to disagree on some things
“When you share the same goals, you can work together instead of being at odds”
You can partner by moving towards goals you both agree can be worked on together. You can also partner by agreeing on goals that challenge the person you care for to step outside their comfort zone but are still within their ability to achieve.