Saturday, 3 September 2016

Couple therapy

Many GPs find it a little unsettling when patients attend with their partner. However often there is significance to it. How best to greet them? I confess I attempt a little levity with most of my patients, since I generally know them well and have been around a long time. My favourites are...


1. Ah its Bonnie and Clyde.
2. And how are the happy couple?
3. Welcome to the dynamic duo.
4. Ah I see you've brought your bodyguard.
5. You'll be charged double on the way out.


All such comments of course are to be avoided if you do not know the couple or sense that the humour gene is lacking (in my experience fairly few patients, although perhaps they avoid me).

Greetings to be super cautious with are...

1. Ah..its little and large.
2. Ah..two fat ladies
3. Ah-oh this looks ominous
4. Not you two again....

But there is another side to this, why have they come together?

1. They may be expecting worrying news and want to be present together to hear it.
2. The non patient partner wants to make sure the patient tells the truth the whole truth and nothing but...
3. The non patient partner wears the trousers (in this case usually the female!!)
4. The adult male patient is a mummy's boy
5. The patient may be hard of hearing
6. The non patient may be super caring and devoted
7. They may want to gang up on you
8. They may want to sneak an extra opinion from you on the non patient.

And more and more. All to say that there is a lot going on in GP consultations which is why they are so endlessly fascinating.
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