Communicating with the patient
Human communication considered as transmission of messages is complex. There are many different types of message to be communicated and several modes of transmission. Communication is often a two-way process, with one communication source affecting the nature of communication from the other source. Other chapters in this volume examine communications where the emphasis is on messages from the patient. In interviews, tests, and other assessment settings there may be some need for instructing and guiding the patient, but essentially interest lies in what the patient does and says: that is, in what the patient communicates. When patients are being counselled, or are following a behavioural treatment programme, they are being guided, advised, reinforced and corrected. But these communications are a means to an end: the end is some change in the patients’ understanding of their problems or in the frequency or quality of their problems.
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