“E” Is for Empowering

  • Alexander Blount


Patients who experience themselves as partners with their doctors are generally more active in caring for their own health. For multiply-disadvantages patients, the steps to partnership have to include building trust in their health professionals and developing the experience of self-efficacy in relation to their lives and their health. For these patients the definition of empowerment that is used in trauma-informed care, that care is built on enhancing strengths rather than highlighting deficits, offers a place to start. The methodology of solution-focused interviewing provides a pathway to achieving this sort of empowerment. Solution-focused approaches to communication have an empowering effect for both patients and professionals, lowering team member burnout rates as it increases patient self-efficacy. Approaching treatment with multiply-disadvantaged patients by building on patients’ strengths in self-care and highlighting their histories of coping can be the step to empowerment that is the foundation for the shared decision-making called for by the IOM. The enhancement of self-confidence and self-efficacy of patients and their healthcare team members, based on evidence from the fields of neuroscience and memory, makes sensible the use of interviewing techniques that otherwise might be counterintuitive to many health professionals.


Complex patients Patient empowerment Solution focused Patient participation Primary care Patient-centered 


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    Solution-Focused Interviewing

    1. Furman, B., and Ahola, T. (1992). Solution talk: Hosting therapeutic conversations. New York: W. W. Norton. A classic book in the field that can be borrowed at no cost with examples of SFI conversations from a broad range of settings and with many types of problems and symptoms.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Blount
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyAntioch University New EnglandKeeneUSA

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