Guided Self-Determination

​A method and dialogue tool for assisting health professionals and patients to achieve clarification and change.

Why Guided Self-Determination?
The dialogue has stalled. The conversation has lost momentum, motivation and focus, and simply repeating yourself is not producing the desired change. Most practicians working with patients with chronic conditions will recognise this scenario. The GSD method was developed to help patients achieve clarification and change in difficult circumstances.

Structure is the key
Structure is the core strength of the GSD method. Experienced practicians will recognise aspects of the GSD concept in other methods such as ”Motivational interviews”. The special features of the GSD method are its structure, reflection sheets and the flow of information that 'guides' the patient and professional towards a positive outcome. The structure keeps the conversation focused on clarifying how the patient can tackle specific challenges.

When the GSD method is successful, the patient feels:

  • their situation is clear and they have new ideas about changing precisely what they want to change
  • problems are easier to solve
  • their quality of life is higher and their figures improve

The method - development and evidence
The method was originally  developed for people with chronic conditions by Vibeke Zoffmann, MPH, PhD, a nurse and senior researcher working in the field of difficult diabetes care. The method includes reflection sheets for specific illnesses that form the basis for each dialogue.

The method has been tested in randomised studies and its effect measured in quantitative terms (ex. HbA1c). The difference GSD makes in practice is also scientifically illustrated in qualitative studies.*

However, the structure or flow of the conversation is the unique hallmark of the GSD method. We therefore recommend that you attend a GSD course if you wish to use the method on a large scale.

* Zoffmann, V. Guided Self-Determination: A Life Skills Approach Developed in Difficult Type 1 Diabetes 2004; Department of Nursing Science, University of Aarhus.

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