Considerations for the physician who treats adolescents in the office.
The purpose of an interview is to obtain information that will assist the physician in evaluating a patient's problem, and that will allow him or her to make appropriate recommendations toward solution of the problem. The major effort by the physician should be to provide the proper setting, and to be an interested, understanding listener. An opportunity to talk to someone who will listen in a caring way may be all that the usually uncommunicative adolescent needs. The primary care physician can obtain the knowledge, arrange for the necessary time, and develop the caring, sensitive attitude to talk with and counsel patients about many subjects, including sensitive ones. Sometimes, however, regardless of how hard one tries, the teenage adolescent patient will be reluctant to discuss his or her concerns. This should not be considered a failure, and the physician should not become discouraged. One should recognize the difficulty the adolescent is having and offer to be available in the near future when the adolescent patient may be ready to express his or her concerns.
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