Course syllabus for

Applied behavioral medicine in primary care, 7.5 credits

Tillämpad beteendemedicin i primärvården, 7.5 hp

This course syllabus is valid from autumn 2014.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Autumn2010 , Autumn2014 , Spring2015 , Autumn2021
Course code
Course name
Applied behavioral medicine in primary care
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements 
Grading scale
Fail (U) or pass (G)
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Participating institutions
  • Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society
Decided by
Styrelsen för utbildning
Decision date
Revised by
Board of Higher Education
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Autumn 2014

Specific entry requirements

A professional degree in Medicine, Psychology or Physiotherapy of at least 120 credits. Alternatively, 150 credits from education that leads to some of the above higher education qualifications. And proficiency in Swedish and English equivalent to Swedish B/Swedish 3 and English A/English 6.


The course aims to increase the students'skill in interprofessional communication and cooperation in the primary care setting and to provide in-depth knowledge in behavioural medicine as well as how specific behavioural medicine methods can be applied with patients who have biopsychosocial problems.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- describe theoretical knowledge in the area of behavioural medicine
- choose among different behavioural medicine methods in relation to a patient's problems and apply at least one such method with a patient
- teach a behavioural medicine method to course participants from a different health profession
- explain to other professional groups in what way the individual's own professional competence contributes to help the patient
- explain what the patient needs from other professions and to be able to reflect, together with other professional groups, on the best way to continue the treatment
- argue for how the primary care setting may benefit from the individual's own professional perspective regarding behavioural medicine methods


The course is based on the subject area of behavioural medicine. According to Swedish Behavioural Medicine Society bylaws, behavioural medicine is defined as the interdisciplinary field devoted to the development and integration of knowledge about psychosocial, behavioural and biomedical issues relevant to health and illness as well as the application of this knowledge for prevention, aetiology, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Behavioural medicine includes research on basic psychobiological mechanisms, clinical diagnostics and intervention as well as prevention and health promotion measures. The focus of the course is on investigation and treatment of primary care patients based on a behavioural medicine perspective. This is reinforced, by course participants with different professional backgrounds (physicians, psychologists and physiotherapists) participating together in theoretical teaching as well as clinical placement in the primary care. At a general level, the following topics are covered:

The meeting with the patient
\x{2022} Interprofessional cooperation
\x{2022} Behavioural medicine theory and practical application
\x{2022} Motivational Interviewing (MI) and the primary care consultation based on the participants' previous knowledge
\x{2022} Internet-based treatment
\x{2022} Psychophysiology and autonomous regulation
\x{2022} Psychological ergonomics- the importance of "taking care of oneself"
\x{2022} Body awareness, relaxation training and mindfulness

Patient problems and treatment methods
\x{2022} Assessment of alcohol and drug problems
\x{2022} Stress and stress treatment, including Internet-based treatment
\x{2022} Treatment of sleep disorders
\x{2022} Treatment of obesity in primary care
\x{2022} Pain rehabilitation
\x{2022} Depression and suicide prevention in primary care

Overall perspectives
\x{2022} Current research in behavioural medicine

Teaching methods

Seminars: The focus of the seminars is different behavioural medicine methods (see above). The lecturers are experts in various fields, including physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists, nurses and consultants. The seminars are organised around case studies. Furthermore, special case seminars are held where the course participants prepare for the joint patient consultation.

Practical exercises: The students participate actively and reflect on their own experiences in connection with practical exercises.

Clinical practicum: Each student is paired with a student from another occupational group. The pair meets with a patient on three occasions. Each pair has the opportunity to consult a course participant from the third occupational group in connection with patient care. If the number of students is uneven, the problem for the student concerned is resolved by individual solutions. An example of an individual solution can be that the student sees the patient alone with extended supervision from another occupational group, or that some students collaborate around two patients. Practicum supervision is given to the extent possible by two clinicians from the different professional groups (physician/psychologist/physiotherapist) in primary care. The course participants present their work at a meeting in the clinic at the end of the course.


Four steps are included in the examination:
1. Each course participant explains the contents of an article that is relevant to the course to his/her partner from the other occupational group. This assignment is reported in writing to the course leader.
2. A written report concerning assessment and treatment of one patient is written first separately by each course participant, and then merged into one joint report at the end of the course.
3. The practicum is evaluated in the form of an oral presentation to the course examiner with fellow students.
4. Experiences during the practicum are reported orally to staff at the primary care clinic.

For a Pass grade in the course, fulfilment of study assignments, approved examination and active participation in seminar discussions and experience-based exercises, are required. Participation in the seminars is compulsory. In case of absence, it is the reponsibility of the course participant to contact the course leader for possible compensatory assignments.

Transitional provisions

Examination will be provided during a two year period after any discontinuation of the course. Examination can be carried out according to an earlier literature list during a period of one year after the date when a renewal of the literature list was made.

Other directives

Course evaluation takes place according to the guidelines that are established by the Board of Higher Education.

The course corresponds largely to and replaces course 2XX005.

Literature and other teaching aids

Feldman, Mitchell D.; Christensen, John F. Behavioral Medicine : A Guide for Clinical Practice
Handbook of behavioral medicine [Elektronisk resurs] : methods and applications Steptoe, Andrew; Freedland, Kenneth E; Poole, Lydia
Handbook of behavioral medicine : methods and applications Steptoe, Andrew; Freedland, Kenneth E; Poole, Lydia
Behavior and medicine Behavior & medicine Stuber, Margaret L.; Wedding, Danny