Role Induction


  • While doctors are familiar with what they mean by medical care, patients may have misconceptions or wrong assumptions based on past experiences or the media.
  • Role induction is of special interest to psychiatrists, but we highly recommend thoughtful role induction to all clinicians.
  • Role induction is the process by which a clinician ensures that a patient has an accurate idea of:
    • The rationale and framework of the treatment relationship
    • The structure of the treatment process and expected outcomes of care
    • The responsibilities of the clinician and the patient
  • A role is broadly defined as the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.
  • An induction is broadly defined as the process or action of bringing about or giving rise to something.
  • Although it is recommended to do role induction with a patient at the beginning of the therapeutic relationship, role induction may also involve taking the time to refocus or redefine the framework or responsibilities at a later time.
  • In the process of consenting patients for surgery or other procedures, physicians are already engaging in a form of role induction by making the role of the patient and doctor clear and explaining the rationale, process, and expected outcome of the procedure to be performed.
  • Role induction has been referred to as "anticipatory socialization"[1].
    • From Orne and Wender (1968): "The individual who grows up in a particular culture learns what is expected of him in a variety of situations, and what he may legitimately expect of the individuals with whom he is interacting in these situations"[1].

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Last updated: May 13, 2022