The provision of suitable mental healthcare is one of the major tasks facing general practitioners and their teams. Family-oriented primary care has moved from doctor-controlled to patient-centered consultations, with a greater emphasis on collaboration. 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 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 historians and vignettes are used extensively to illustrate the techniques as well as boxed information to highlight key points.
Eia Asen is Clinical Director and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Marlborough Family Service. He is also a family therapist of international renown. Dave Tomson is a GP on Tyneside with a background in family work, education, learning and service development. He has had lecturer posts at both local universities and is now a freelance consultant in the development of patient centred primary care. Venetis Young is a GP in Penrith, Cumbria and a Family Therapists at the Psychotherapy department in Carlisle. As GP Mental Health Lead for Eden Valley PCT she is involved in service redesign and mental health training for primary care and community staff. Peter Tomson is a retired GP, previously Honorary Senior Lecturer at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, a member of one of Michael Balint's original groups and a pioneer of introducing systemic practices into primary care.