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Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 228–243 | Cite as

Integration: Opportunities and Challenges for Family Therapists in Primary Care

  • Melissa A. Fox
  • Jennifer L. Hodgson
  • Angela L. Lamson
Original Paper

Abstract

Integration of behavioral and physical health is becoming critical for the overburdened primary care system. Policy changes are needed to accommodate integration nationally. Locally, medical and behavioral health providers are working together to create models that better fit their patients’ comprehensive needs while respecting the clinical, operational, and financial constraints of the current system. Family therapists trained to work in medical settings have an opportunity to emerge as clinical, research, and administrative leaders in this context. However, a paradigm shift is crucial to adapting their systemic orientation to interactions between individual patients, providers, staff, and healthcare and support systems. This article provides family therapists with: (1) an overview of the basic structure and barriers of integration, (2) suggestions on how to deliver quality care despite barriers at the local level, and (3) examples of key advocacy efforts representing possible entryways on a larger scale.

Keywords

Behavioral health Family therapy Integrated care Integration Medical family therapy Primary care 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa A. Fox
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Hodgson
    • 2
  • Angela L. Lamson
    • 2
  1. 1.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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