Programme no. 323-OP
Patient Empowerment
Solution-focused approach, tools and supervising help to empower patients in general practice
Outi Seppälä*1
1Kallio health station,Helsinki Health Care Centre,Helsinki,Finland
* = Presenting author
Objectives: To demonstrate how physicians in general practice can benefit from solution-focused brief therapy approach, tools and supervising in empowering their patients.
Background: Empowering patients to take more responsibility of behavioural change related to smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure is nowadays essential in modern general practice. Also in psychological problems such as depression, panic disorder and anxiety it has turned out to be important to support the patients’ own resources to solve their problems. Solution-focused brief therapy approach, tools and supervising offer GPs a number of useful tools that can help them to become better with handling patients with psychological, psychosomatic and somatic problems. These tools can also help to build a stronger physician - patient relationships, which in turn helps to improve treatment results and compliance.

Results: Providing praise and positive feedback, building on patients’ past successes, resources and competences, and using simple tools such as reframing and scales improves outcome with a large variety of GP patients including those presenting symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, obesity, diabetes and substance abuse. Solution focused individual or group supervision can help GPs especially with multi-problem cases.
Material/Methods: The session has three parts: 1. lecture describing the key solution-focused practice and supervision methods with case examples; 2. practice for trying out the presented methods in small groups; and 3. discussion for sharing thoughts and reflections.Pre-registration is not required and there is no upper limit to the number of participants.Participants will work for a brief period of time in small discussion groups (4-5 persons) and therefore a room with movable chairs is preferred.No preparation or advance reading is required.The facilitator has presented some part of the workshop ideas previously at the 2009 annual congress of European Brief Therapy Association (EBTA) and 18th Nordic Congress of General Practice in Tampere 2013.
Conclusion: Modern general practice and solution-focused brief therapy are both patient-centred and future-oriented, they encourage independence and autonomy, aim for solutions and deliberately avoid unnecessary pathologization.
Points for discussion: The oral presentation provides a lot of general practice case examples, which are discussed in order to show how the solution focused approach and tools can be applied to the work in primary care.