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Conducting Emotionally Difficult Conversations
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Emotionally difficult or painful conversations are very common in health care. Consequently, it is quite remarkable that health care training programs do not spend more time teaching future health professionals the kinds of emotional and relational skills that are often required in these kinds of patient-provider interactions.
This presentation will discuss the architecture of the painful conversation by examining 1) its effect on the professional’s sense of self and especially his or her need to preserve self-esteem; 2) the critical role of feelings and emotions; and 3) the nature and value of empathy. The latter half of the presentation will consist of various strategic and practical recommendations so that emotionally challenging conversations might be conducted artfully, especially with “difficult” or “impossible” patients.
John Banja, PhD, Professor of Rehabilitation, Medicine and Medical Ethics
The Center for Ethics, Emory University
Dr. Banja has conducted research and educational projects with numerous federal and private organizations. He currently serves as the editor of the American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience. His research interests include patient safety, neuroethics and ethical dilemmas occurring in clinical and translational research.
Additionally, Dr. Banja's book, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism, was published in 2005.
The speaker has no real or perceived conflicts of interest that relate to this presentation.
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:
1. List recommendations for dealing with difficult conversations.
2. Explain how the ability to control one’s feelings can influence the success or failure of an emotionally difficult conversation.
3. Identify empathic responses that are useful in conducting emotionally difficult conversations.