Experts Share Practical Advice for Mental Health Clinicians

April 19, 2018
Improving Communications With Patients

AUSTIN, Texas—When communicating with patients, repetition and patience are key, Psych Congress Steering Committee member Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC, told attendees at the 2018 Elevate by Psych Congress meeting.

Citing iconic advertising slogans such as "Got Milk?" and "Just Do It," Dr. Jain said consumers must be exposed to something 6 to 20 times before marketers get their desired effect.

To maximize communications with patients, Dr. Jain also recommended these steps:

  • Provide hands-on learning;

  • Provide enduring materials;

  • Assume the role of a coach;

  • Provide accountability/tracking options;

  • Check-in routinely with patients.

Enhancing communications with patients can have many benefits, such as higher patient satisfaction and improved clinical outcomes, she noted. A study published in 2014 showed more than half of psychiatric outpatients wanted to have a more active role in treatment decisions.

"Surgeons are honing their craft, every day. We must do the same," Dr. Jain urged.

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