Psychotherapy in general practice

Each general practitioner consultation offers many opportunities to establish a good rapport with the patient. The doctor may choose to take full responsibility for the care or share it with other team members. A psychotherapeutic understanding and approach towards the patient are important. If pressed for time, it is easy to miss the actual, psychological cause of the patient’s ill health as it can be masked by the physical symptoms. The doctor should be sensitive to reading ”between the lines” and have the courage to broach issues not immediately introduced by the patient. When the essential issues are quickly established, many unnecessary visits and investigations are avoided. Continuity of the therapeutic relationship supports the feeling of security in the patient and helps in telling about the real worries.