Letting the Patient Set the Goal for the Healing Intervention

Mar 08, 2017

“. . . the final secrets in life may often be reached less by what we learn than by what we half-remember.”

Alan McGlashan
From Savage and Beautiful Country

Letting the Patient Set the Goal for the Healing Intervention

TISA Description of the Problem: One of the core principles of motivational interviewing that fits in nicely with the Medication Interest Model (MIM) is the importance of allowing clients to set their own goals as to what they want to achieve in their therapies, so that they are motivated by their own decision making process and healthy ownership of that process. The following clinical interviewing tip from John T. Klimos, M.D., an allergist, demonstrates this very nicely.

Tip: In treating allergies, after I’ve described the pros and cons of various approaches we can take, I like to ask patients, “How much better do you want to be?” I then continue:

“We have different types of things we can do to try to help you to get relief from your allergies and each one, as we’ve seen, will have its own pros and cons. They also will have limitations on how much relief you can get. Our goal is to help you to find the approach that suits you best and that you are most comfortable with, while getting you the degree of relief that you want.

Let me describe what I mean. If you simply try to avoid the allergen that is causing your bad allergy, I believe we will be able to get you to about 10-15% improvement. If we try some of the medications we have been talking about, I think we’ll be able to achieve about 50-60% improvement. And if we use the allergy shots, I bet we will get to about 80-90% improvement. Now that you know the side-effects and benefits, how much relief do you think you want to try for? And then we’ll talk about that approach in much more detail.”

TISA Follow-up: In this excellent interviewing tip from John, we see the power of “moving with” the patient at work in a real-world setting. In essence, this interviewing tip allows the patient to “call the shots” and own the potential benefits as a personal choice. I have nothing to add other than to say give it a try.

Tip provided by:

John T. Klimos, M.D.
Charlotte, North Carolina