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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2007 Jul;77(3):377-85.

Family systems psychiatry: principles, good practice guidelines, clinical examples, and challenges.

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Medical Psychology Department, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Bergheimer Strasse 20, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany.


This article describes a collaborative action research project, carried out in Germany and designed to promote the integration of family systems thinking and methods into the core practices of everyday psychiatric care. During 1997-2002, "good practice" guidelines were compiled in an initial research project, involving 17 in- and outpatient psychiatric services. In the second phase of the project (2002-2008), the approach is now well established, being taught and evaluated in three state hospitals in Germany. This article outlines the development of the project and the application of family systems psychiatry principles, demonstrating their feasibility and value in a number of different psychiatric hospitals. Two clinical vignettes illustrate the usefulness of the family systems approach as a comprehensive framework for delivering recovery-focused inpatient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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