Original Publication
Open Access

Helping Your Patient Change: A Patient-Centered Behavioral Counseling Presentation for Second-Year Medical Students

Published: July 31, 2015 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10166

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.docx
  • Stages of Change, 5 A's and Motivational Interviewing.ppt
  • Roy Jones Case and SP Training Materials.doc
  • Roy Jones Tutor Notes.doc
  • Stages of Change and 5 A's Framework.ppt
  • Stages of Change and Motivational Interviewing.ppt
  • Additional Tools & Strategies.ppt

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


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.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the 5 A’s framework for behavioral counseling in primary care and confidently use a goal-setting mnemonic with a patient.
  2. 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.
  3. Describe other patient-centered counseling techniques, including motivational interviewing, and be aware of the evidence of their effectiveness.
  4. Apply patient-centered counseling techniques to assist a patient in making dietary changes.

Author Information

  • Kathryn Kolasa, PhD, RD, LDN: The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
  • Kay Craven, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE: The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
  • James Byrd, MD, MPH: The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
  • Patrick Merricks, MBA: The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

None to report.

None to report.


Kolasa K, Craven K, Byrd J, Merricks P. Helping your patient change: a patient-centered behavioral counseling presentation for second-year medical students. MedEdPORTAL. 2015;11:10166. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10166