Table 1

Themes and subthemes

ThemeSubthemesTerms characterised by this theme
Employs a multidimensional, integrated approach
  • Considers multiple aspects of the person and their context.

  • Integrates these aspects such that the whole is seen as greater than the sum of the parts.

Biopsychosocial (multidimensional±integrated)
Whole person
Importance of the therapeutic relationship
  • Values the therapeutic relationship.

  • Places importance on personal attributes of the doctor that foster the therapeutic relationship.

  • Employs a collaborative approach that emphasises patient responsibility.

  • Values continuity of care.

Biopsychosocial (variable)
Whole person
Acknowledges the humanity of the doctor
  • Places importance on doctors’ self-awareness.

  • Adopts a ‘physician heal thyself’ philosophy.

  • Identifies potential for personal growth of the doctor through treating the patient.

Biopsychosocial (self-awareness)
Whole person
Recognises the individual personhood of each patient
  • Views patients as individual, unique persons.

  • Focuses on the person rather than on the disease.

  • Distinguishes between disease (a pathological derangement) and illness (a broader term encompassing the effect of disease on the patient’s life).

Biopsychosocial (minor theme)
Whole person
Health as more than absence of disease
  • Health is viewed as more than the absence of disease.

  • Disease is viewed as a state of imbalance and healing as restoring the balance of health.

  • Emphasises preventive health measures.

Biopsychosocial (minor theme)
Whole person (minor theme)
Employs a range of treatment modalities
  • Use of a range of treatment modalities.

  • May include (but is not synonymous with) CAM.

Whole person
Holistic (specific focus on CAM)
  • CAM, complementary and alternative medicine.