General Management Principles for Difficult Patients

Attend to the physician-patient relationship.

Focus the interview on manageable goals within the time frame available.

Use psychotherapeutic techniques when interviewing the patient.

Attend to the patient's emotional needs.

Modify the patient's surroundings.

Improve the patient's capacity to test reality.

Empathize with the patient's worldview.

Accept the patient's limitations and strengths.

Manage unreasonable patient expectations, and set limits.

Question illogical feelings, thoughts, or behaviors.

Discuss and interpret defenses and coping style.

Prescribe medications as needed.

Use specific interventions and suggest better coping styles for each type of difficult patient.

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