Social and psychological factors not only affect people's physical and mental health but can also be used in treating problems.
As health professionals, we can take a more psychological approach, by actively asking about patients' concerns and supporting them to better manage their own health needs. We can act as a catalyst in harnessing their personal resources to promote changes in a way that makes good use of available services.
Many health professionals feel it is hard to achieve lasting change through behavioural interventions but, when it occurs, it is highly rewarding, both for themselves and for patients and can potentially offer significant NHS cost-savings.
The trend towards a health service that is more patient-centred is recognised in the use of terms such as concordance instead of compliance. It reflects a departure from a paternalistic model to one that views the patient as an equal partner.
Although some patients may expect clinicians to decide what is best for them, their participation can still be encouraged and if they feel their opinion is valued, they may wish to become more involved in making decisions about their treatment.