Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy

Advisor

Tommie V. Boyd

Committee Member

Christopher F. Burnett

Abstract

A review of the research related to Medical Family Therapy demonstrates that the inclusion of marriage and family therapists as part of the healthcare team offers benefits such as decreased utilization of healthcare, decreased costs, increased positive outcomes for patients and healthcare systems. However, studies demonstrate the difficulty with communication between providers limiting access to marriage and family therapists. Results of this study identified benefits to working with medical family therapists including broadening the understanding and using a collaborative effort to help the patient improve and get better. Participants also identified barriers to collaboration such as the lack of knowledge of and access to MedFTs, their inclusion in the system, MDs finding value in the MedFT profession, and that the communication process is lacking. Further need for improved communication at the referral and follow-up stages in collaborative practices is shown. In order to move more toward collaborative practices, PCPs and MedFTs need to develop and disseminate training on treatment notes, communication, team meetings, and continuance of collaborative work with one another.

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