a holistic approach, continuity of care and the RCGP triad of physical, psychological and social aspects of problems apply as much to advice-giving as to diagnosis
advice must be realistically adapted to the patient's circumstances, lifestyle and personality
the doctor may be required to assume a more formal counselling role to help patients work through their probems or come to terms with their circumstances
counselling helps patients to identify their problems and to carry out their own solutions by giving insight and identifying possible courses of action
counselling implies that the patient recognises the need to modify his/her behaviour
some patients realise that they are not physically or or mentally ill but are having difficulty adapting to or coping with problems in their everyday life. They may be aware of the cause of their distress and come for comfort and support, mostly given by listening and empathising
physical symptoms may need to be related to work, relationships or other areas of life.
doctors differ greatly in how much formal counselling they do. Most refer on to various types of counsellor