BACKGROUND: In primary health care, efficacious treatment strategies are lacking for these patients, although the most prominent symptoms accounting for consultation in primary care often cannot be related to any biological causes.
AIM: The aim was to explore whether group supervision from a specific phenomenological theory of psychosomatics could provide healthcare professionals treating patients with psychosomatichealth issues within primary care a deeper understanding of these conditions and stimulate profession-specific treatment strategies. Our research questions were as follows: (i) What is the healthcare professionals' understanding of psychosomatics before and after the intervention? (ii) What are the treatment strategies for this group of patients before and after the intervention?
METHODS: The study was an explorative qualitative intervention pilot study. The six participants from a primary healthcare setting in a medium-sized city in Sweden participated in the study. A supervision group was formed, based on a mix of professions, age, gender and years of clinical experience. Supervision consisted of one 75-minutes meeting every month during the course of 6 months. Participants were interviewed before and after the supervision intervention.
FINDINGS:The study showed two distinct categories emerged from the data. One category of healthcare professionals espoused a psycho-educative approach, while the other lacked a cohesive approach. The supervision improved the second category of healthcare professionals' understanding of psychosomatics. The psycho-educative group did not change their understanding of psychosomatics, although they felt strengthened in their approach by the supervision. Profession-specific strategies were not developed.
IMPLICATIONS: This pilot study indicates that a relatively short supervision intervention can aid clinicians in their clinical encounters with these patients; however, further research is necessary to ascertain the value of the specific phenomenologically based supervision intervention.