identifying personal problems

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  • Background - likely areas of psychosocial problems How are things at home? ..at work? .. at school? What's going on in your life? What's different from before things went wrong?
  • Affect - the feelings, anxieties and sensitive areas How do you feel about your home life? ..work? ..school? How do you feel about your life in general? How's your mood? How do you feel in yourself?
  • Trouble - how the problem troubles the patient What bothers you most about the situation? What worries you most in your life? ..home? ..work? How much does the situation upset you? ..stress you? How do you think the problem affects you?
  • Handling - methods of coping and support How are you dealing with the situation? What have you already tried to solve the problem? Is there anything you may have mishandled? How much support are you getting at home? ..at work? Who gives you support when dealing with problems? How do you feel you're coping?
  • Empathy - acknowledge distress and legitimise feelings That must be very difficult for you. You must be very upset ..angry about it.

ref: MR Stuart and JA Lieberman, The 15-minute hour: Applied psychotherapy for the primary care physician, Praeger, 1986

Last reviewed 01/2018