The Future of Psychology in Family Medicine

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Abstract

Psychology has been integral to the field of family medicine since its inception as a medical specialty in the 1960s. Psychologists and other behavioral scientists contribute to family medicine in teaching clinical skills, in defining research questions, in developing research methodology, and in creating integrated physical/mental health care delivery systems. Future developments in the field of psychology in family medicine are likely to emphasize development and evaluation of screening measures which identify mental health problems in primary care, development of early intervention for those mental health problems, and more precise measurement of process and quality of care and health outcomes. Psychologists have an important role to fulfill in educating physicians on alternatives to pharmacologic and medical interventions for common presenting problems in primary care. However, current economic forces shaping the practice of medicine may work against further enhancing the efficacy of the physician in dealing with psychosocial issues. The future role of psychology in family medicine is not yet delineated, and while the move toward parity of reimbursement for mental and physical health care delivery may enhance this collaboration, there is a need to continue to evaluate how the psychological well-being of patients is influenced in the evolution of new models of care delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Volume4
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

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Keywords

  • Collaborative practice
  • Family medicine
  • Family practice
  • Health psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

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