Box 1.

Helpful questions during a consultation

Can you tell me your story starting at the very beginning? This helps work out the chronology of symptoms and can be therapeutic for the patient.
What do you think is going on? This helps identify abnormal health beliefs.
What concerns you? This allows you to address this and can relieve some patient stress.
What do you want help with? If we could change one thing what would it be? This helps you focus the management plan around it.
What would you be doing in your life if these gastrointestinal symptoms were reduced? – This helps to identify an incentive for getting better, which could be a goal that the patient works towards.
Are there other things in your life that are stopping you from this? This helps identify psychosocial issues which are contributing to the symptoms and which may need to be addressed by their general practitioner.