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Fam Process. 2005 Sep;44(3):321-35.

Family systems training in psychiatric residencies.

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University of Pennsylvania, 321 Mallwyd Road, Merion Station, PA 19066, USA.


Both extensive research and common sense dictate that attention to families is necessary for appropriate care of psychiatric patients. However, training in family skills has often been difficult to integrate into psychiatric residency programs because of conflicting paradigms, turf battles, constraints of time and money, and confusion over whether family-centered care or family therapy should be taught. Current changes in residency accreditation mandate that family skills (not necessarily family therapy in its sophisticated form) be part of all residency programs. This article reviews the history of systems training in residencies, current accreditation requirements, and the GAP proposal for family systems skills, knowledge, and attitudes that that are teachable within the limited time available to residents. The application of these core skills is described using a case example and formulation. Challenges in teaching and ways of overcoming programmatic constraints are outlined.

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