Our patients are faced by more health & nutrition messages via multiple mediums than ever before yet escalating rates of obesity & lifestyle related disease highlight the failure of these. It would seem behavioural psychologists are right when they assert that information does not change behaviour in the majority of people. Therefore if we too simply add to our patients’ information overload, we’ve missed the point. One of my favourite & at the same time terrible illustrations of this was when I walked into a local café and saw a man sitting at a table by himself having just finished a cup of coffee and something sweet. On the table next to his coffee was a very recognisable ‘prescription’ from a naturopath he’d obviously just been to see.
- Reduce coffee
- Reduce sugar
- Reduce fat
- Increase exercise
Oh the power of such words!! If we spit out advice/instructions/directives at our patients, even with all the best intentions, we seem to make very little progress or only create short-term change. In contrast, if we take the time to focus in on each change we wish the patient to make, individualise the approach and solutions then we may have only given them a small fraction of the ‘advice’ we ultimately want to but at least this time it’s actually met it’s mark and created life-long healthy habits.
An understanding of the components behind successful behavioural change (readiness, empowerment, barrier identification & resolution etc.) is essential to improving patients’ health & wellbeing. If you want to hear more about how to successfully promote behavioural change in your patients follow this link https://rachelarthur.com.au/product-category/premium-audio/ to a premium audio download I recorded on this topic last February. I really believe it can make the difference between success and failure with individual patient’s treatment & the success of your practice overall. Enjoy and remember more information isn’t the answer!