The excerpt below from Family Therapy Magazine is by Jennifer Hodgson and Daniel Marlow. Jennifer is co-presenter of one of the workshops chosen for AAMFT16. Interested in this topic and many others featuring the latest clinical issues in the field of marriage and family therapy? Explore the workshops and register here for AAMFT16 in Indianapolis, IN on September 15-18.
There has been an explosion of research and opportunities in healthcare for family therapists in the past 15 years. We have an opportunity, now more than ever, to apply systems concepts and family therapy approaches to patients receiving medical care and their family/support systems. The challenges we have are actual (e.g., insurance, such as Medicare) but not insurmountable. We need to position ourselves as professionals who are trained in integrated care, who know how to help change occur at the relevant systemic levels, work with more than one person in the therapy/exam room, be cost and clinically effective at it, and trained to collaborate with healthcare teams and providers. To ensure our place in this movement, we must be working now to train ourselves and the next generation of marriage and family therapists (MFTs) to do this work.
To be prepared means knowing and doing the necessary research on clinical, operational, and financial sustainability models. These three worlds in healthcare need to be considered simultaneously when entering into any healthcare setting (Peek, 2008; Peek & Heinrich, 1995, 1998). Family therapists may need to learn a new language, models of collaboration, and how to provide clinical care outside the box (literally outside the four walls of your office and in under 20 minutes).
Why is this Important?
Despite mental health providers’ (MHP) efforts to de-stigmatize psychotherapy services, most American adults prefer to have their behavioral health needs met by their primary care provider (Kessler & Stafford, 2008; Reiss-Brennan, 2010; Strosahl, 1994). With as many as 70 percent of primary care visits having a psychosocial component (Fries, Koop, & Beadle, 1993; Gatchel & Oordt, 2003), and up to 84 percent of the most common primary care symptoms found to have no known organic cause (Kroenke & Mangelsdorff, 1989), there is a place for mental health in medical settings, such as primary care; now known as the defacto mental health system (e.g., DeGruy, 1996).
206 Medical Family Therapy in Primary Care: Research Updates
Jennifer Hodgson, Angela Lamson
Increasing numbers of family therapists are securing positions in primary care settings as integrated behavioral healthcare leaders, clinicians, and researchers. This presentation will highlight current trends in primary care involving family-centered models, integrated behavioral healthcare research, opportunities for clinical and research initiatives, and a blueprint for getting your professional foot in the primary care door. Register
Jennifer Hodgson, PhD, LMFT, is an associate professor in the Departments of Child Development and Family Relations and Family Medicine at East Carolina University. She is a Clinical Member of the AAMFT, an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, COAMFTE Commissioner, and a longtime member of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association. She is president of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association and has published in several journals and has given several presentations locally and nationally on collaborative and integrated care.