Last reviewed 01/2018

Both parties in the GP consultation come with their own attitudes, beliefs, prejudices and expectations. These are influenced by:

  • age and experience
  • social class and background
  • education
  • ethnic origins

The doctor should try to gain insight into his own assumptions and explore those of the patient concerning the nature of the problem presented and about what constitutes an appropriate response. If the patient comes for reassurance and the doctor investigates or prescribes, the patient may go away more anxious or frustrated than before.

The patient may want something that the doctor cannot or is unwilling to give. If there is any difficulty, the doctor should be asking himself, "What does the patient really want from me?". The doctor needs to be aware of the patient's conscious and subconscious needs, even if they cannot be met.