OBJECTIVE To introduce two short counseling skills for busy family doctors: the BATHE technique and the DIG technique. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE The BATHE technique indicates five areas for questioning patients who require counseling: background, affect, trouble, handling, and empathy. No research on use of the technique has been published. The DIG technique is the author's modification of the BATHE technique. MAIN FINDINGS While the efficacy of counseling in general was validated, more research on the effectiveness on these two techniques needs to be done. CONCLUSIONS Since counseling is an integral part of family practice, family doctors will find these techniques useful. Each is easy to learn and takes less than 15 minutes to complete.