Lecture Discussion 214

Hernan Barenboim, PhD,  Aaron Grace, PsyD

Excellent care is dependent on effective and meaningful communication between patients and their physicians.  Communication is more than just the content: Process, relationship, and other systemic factors have a strong impact on the quality of this communication.  Research suggests that as medical graduates progress through residency training, there is a decline in the quality of communication skills.  One proposed reason for this unexpected decline is excessive focus on content of communication while neglecting relational, contextual, and systems influences on communication.  In this presentation, we will explore how attachment theory and a family systems perspective can direct our thinking about communication and the doctor-patient relationship in primary care.  For example, why do some residents struggle to maintain healthy boundaries with patients, while others do this easily? How can we build this important skill? Strategies for finding balance among content, process, and context in communication will be explored.  Participants will have the opportunity to trial a tool to evaluate contextual components within the communication of their medical learners and their patients.

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