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Synopsis

The provision of suitable mental health care is one of the major tasks facing general practitioners and their teams. Family-oriented primary care has moved from doctor-controlled to patient-centred consultations, with a greater emphasis on collaboration. The systemic framework uniquely lends itself to this shift in emphasis, as it views the delivery of care in social rather than merely medical terms. There is now a strong evidence base for the efficacy of systemic approaches in managing many different types of mental health and relationship issues.

This text is a practical guide for health professionals working in primary care who wish to improve their management of problem patients, problem families and problem situations. Step-by-step, it introduces both the theory and the practice of the family approach - from interviewing individual patients in routine consultations to conducting specific family crisis meetings. It includes many concrete suggestions for using simple family therapy techniques and encourages the clinician to think about cases constructively. Case histories and patient stories are used extensively to illustrate the techniques as well as boxed information to highlight key points.

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