Health Behavior Counseling

Health Behavior Counseling (HBC) is a very focused form of talk-therapy with the goal of achieving a desired lifestyle change that will enhance health.  Health Behavior Counseling is done a by a licensed health care provider with specialized medical knowledge in the disease or condition that the behavior modification is intended to help.

The technique for Health Behavior Counseling can be done using many different styles. One style of health behavior counseling uses Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that elicits the individual’s motivations for doing or not doing a health behavior. In motivational interviewing the client is not told what to do by the health care provider. Instead the main focus is for the health care provider to elicit what the client is willing to do about the health condition. The patient is the expert on their health and well being. The health care provider will ask structured questions to elicit change talk from the patient. This change talk will serve as the reasons for or against a particular lifestyle change.

Motivational Interviewing can be combined with Relapse Prevention strategies. Relapse Prevention elicits from the client potential high-risk situations that may trigger relapsing back to the previous health behavior that would detract from maintaining the new health promoting lifestyle. Then once the high-risk situations have been uncovered the healthcare provider helps the client think about specific coping strategies that would be effective in dealing with the high-risk situation. Also the patient and health care provider will devise a coping strategy in the event of a lapse or relapse.

Health Behavior Counseling has been found to be most effective when done by a skilled primary care provider (PCP) that can utilize multiple therapeutic interventions to help achieve a desired health goal. Some conditions that respond particularly well to health behavior counseling by a PCP include: smoking cessation, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, excessive consumption lifestyles, and any other health condition that requires a lifestyle modification.

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