Table 1

Strategies for trying to understand patients’ emotions

Be calm and adopt a neutral stanceYou will be in a more receptive mode
Avoid evaluating your patient’s behaviourYour evaluation is not part of your patient’s viewpoint
Be aware that you always add something to or take something away from a patient’s messageNo matter what you have understood, it is never precisely what your patient is thinking. Take such unintentional alterations into account by verifying your understanding with your patient
Try to have as much information as possible about your patientWhat patients feel is connected with everything they are and with their past. The more you know about them, the better the chances that your construction of their emotions will come close to what they actually feel