Affect

Affect is the 'feeling state' and includes anxiety; so it is wise to probe potentially sensitive areas.

• 'How do you feel about what is going on in your life?'

• 'How do you feel about your (husband or wife or daughter or ...)?'

• 'What is your mood like? Do you feel sad or happy?'

Trouble

Enquire about how the patient's problems are troubling the patient.

• 'What about the situation troubles you most?'

• 'What troubles or worries you most in your life?'

• 'How stressed and upset are you about this problem?'

• 'How do you think this problem affects you?'

Handling

• 'How are you handling this problem?'

• 'Do you think that you have mishandled anything?'

• 'Do you get support at home to help handle the problem?'

Empathy

Indicate an understanding of the patient's distress and legitimise his or her feelings.

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