This inspirational guide provides an innovative framework for understanding the consultation. It is concise, easy-to-read and highly accessible, presenting a simple and easily remembered non-linear diagram which facilitates the understanding of this richly complex process. Inspired by the work of Balint, it beautifully reflects the narrative of the consultation in its tone, with examples and anecdotes illustrating key concepts. It is highly effective as a primary teaching aid for undergraduate medical students, as a refresher for those in practice, an aide memoire to good consulting, a template for case analysis and reflection, and a diagnostic aid when consultations have gone wrong. The approach is recommended for all GP trainees, nurse practitioners and pharmacists where it has proven to be an immense help at all levels of experience and skill.