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Collaboration between family-oriented primary care physicians and mental health professionals has generated much interest and enthusiasm in recent years, providing new opportunities for improved care for our patients. The development of the biopsychosocial model (1) has provided a theoretical foundation that can be shared by both primary care and mental health. The field of family systems medicine has begun to articulate the implementation of this theory, including issues around collaborative health care (2–4). Several kinds of collaborative relationships are possible between the primary care physician and the mental health specialist, ranging from consultation (for mysterious or stuck cases) to co-therapy sessions (for especially difficult cases like somatic fixation or dysfunctions around chronic illness) to referral (for serious or time-consuming cases) (5,6). (See Fig. 22.1.) This chapter will make practical suggestions for building a collaborative model that increases the ability of primary care providers to work with mental health professionals to maximize outcome for the patient and the provider.
KeywordsMental Health Primary Care Primary Care Physician Primary Care Provider Mental Health Professional
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