Recent data indicate that the patient-centered counseling model enhances long-term adherence to lifestyle change. Applying the patient-centered counseling model supports change by assessing the patient’s needs and tailoring the recommendations/interventions to the patient’s readiness for change, personal goals, and unique challenges. Students may not see patient-centered counseling modeled by their preceptors, and therefore, it is important to discuss and practice this approach in the classroom setting. This resource was created to instruct second-year medical students in a variety of frameworks for behavioral counseling. Through small- and large-group sessions as well as a standardized patient case—Roy Jones—we are able to intertwine examples of diet and nutrition, physical activity, and weight management into the broader patient-centered curriculum. Included in this publication are the didactic presentations, both complete and modular, and a standardized patient script with tutor notes. This resource has only been used with second-year medical students thus far, but due to student acceptance of its use since 2003, we would recommend its use with other health care professional students interested in patient-centered counseling for lifestyle change. Students generally rate this session with a 4 or 5 (on a 5-point scale) when asked if the session is helpful in their work with patients. Parts of this presentation are used with primary care residents during their ambulatory clinic month to demonstrate ways to help patients change dietary behaviors.
- Describe the 5 A’s framework for behavioral counseling in primary care and confidently use a goal-setting mnemonic with a patient.
- Describe the Transtheoretical Model or Stages of Change and the role the physician plays in assisting a patient to move from one stage to another.
- Describe other patient-centered counseling techniques, including motivational interviewing, and be aware of the evidence of their effectiveness.
- Apply patient-centered counseling techniques to assist a patient in making dietary changes.
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