AIM: To practise confirming the meaning of statements by paraphrasing.
INTRODUCTION: People often use vague or tentative language when they speak, using word choices that may not accurately reflect what they mean. Depending on the context, there could be several reasons for this. It might mean that they are unsure of what they want to say, and are having trouble expressing themselves; or it might mean that they are uncomfortable with the topic.
An effective way to make sure you understand what the patient wishes to say, and to ensure that you don’t miss important information, is to paraphrase what the patient has said. To paraphrase is to use different words to express the same idea or meaning. This will enable you to better identify the patient’s meaning rather than just focussing on the words they use.
INSTRUCTIONS: Listen to and read the following quotes from the depression video and choose the option that best paraphrases the meaning of what the patient says.
Patient: I just came to see if I can get some, I dunno, vitamins or something like that just to get my energy levels up.
Patient: Um, I guess I haven’t been going out as much, and um, yeah, I usually go out, go out with my friends a bit.
Patient: Um, ah, I guess my girlfriend went away.
Patient: I guess I’ve been, I haven’t been eating as much. Probably um more take away than anything else. I just don't have any motivation to cook yeah.
Doctor: Look, when people feel like that for a little while, sometimes they have thoughts about ‘I don’t want to live any more’ or ‘Is it worth living any more?’ Have you been having thoughts like that (again)?
Patient: Yeah, sometimes I guess I have thoughts yeah.
Patient: I guess um, I guess I've been coping by myself really.
Doctor: Not really? yeah. Is your girlfriend somebody whom you can talk to?
Patient: Yeah I could probably talk to her if I tried.
Patient: I guess since the girlfriend's gone way I've probably been, um, you know, usually I'm drinking at home with her and I guess now I’m more like getting some take away and drinking by myself.
Doctor: Anybody in your family had any emotional or psychological problems?
Patient: Um, no, not really, my mum was going on the other day about um my grandfather, but I dunno, it's really, not really many people in the family talk about it so ...
Please answer every question before continuing.
FEEDBACK: Paraphrasing is useful technique for ensuring you understand what has been said. Paraphrasing can also be useful when you are uncertain if a patient has understood what you have said. If you not certain that a patient understands, you can repeat the information using different words to help avoid confusion.