As the lifetime risk, societal cost, and overall functional impact of osteoarthritis (OA) is imposing, it is imperative that clinicians provide an individualized care model for patients. Patients must be offered a multiplicity of care strategies and encouraged to embrace lifestyle approaches for self-managing the effects and symptoms of OA. Certainly, the attitude of the clinician and patient will directly influence receptivity and implementation of lifestyle approaches. This work proposes how the use of structured and routine assessments and cognitive therapy ideologies may complement a comprehensive treatment plan. Assessments described herein include objective and/or self-report measures of physical function, pain, attitude about social support, and sleep quality. Baseline assessments followed by systematic monitoring of the results may give patients and clinicians valuable insight into the effectiveness of the care plan. Empirical evidence from randomized trials with OA patients highlights the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral change strategies for addressing salient concerns for OA (pain control, mobility performance, and sleep quality). Cognitive restructuring can provide patients with renewed power in managing their disease. Cognitive therapy topics discussed presently include: 1) what is OA?, 2) effectiveness of exercise and FITT (frequency, intensity, time, and type) principles for OA patients, 3) goal-setting and barriers, and 4) translating to independent care. Woven within the discussion about cognitive therapy are ideas about how the results from baseline assessments and group-mediated dynamics might assist more favorable outcomes. There are a plethora of assessments and cognitive therapy topics that could be utilized in the care strategy that we are promoting, but the present topics were selected for their low clinician and patient burden and promising results in trials with OA patients. Clinicians who are comfortable and knowledgeable about a wider range of management tools may serve more effectively in the critical, central management process and help patients embrace personal care more successfully.