Communication in psychiatry is nowadays called to create bridges between different levels of observation (biological, functional and relational levels) and therapeutic intervention (social and educational) with important implications for therapeutic practice and communication research in the mental health context. New research challenges and windows of opportunity for therapeutic practice will be addressed in this contribution, as they relate to the three main tasks that psychiatrists have to meet when talking with their patients: understanding patient's problems and concerns; establishing the therapeutic alliance by acknowledging and responding to patient's emotion; informing and involving patients and their families, when appropriate. Therapeutic decisions need the elaboration of valid strategies of shared decision-making, which still have to be implemented and adapted to psychiatric context. Moreover, in the research field, emerging biomarker research may contribute to better explain what makes the difference in an empathic relationship either in terms of psycho-physiological reactions and in brain changes. Finally, the influence of new technologies and of Internet has to be more and more considered during clinical consultations.
(Online publication March 02 2012)
c1 Address for correspondence: Professor Lidia Del Piccolo, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, University of Verona, Policlinico G.B. Rossi, Piazzale L.A. Scuro 10, 37134 Verona, Italy (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)