The field of medical family therapy has grown by leaps and bounds since the authors' bestselling Medical Family Therapy: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Families With Health Problems was published in 1992. In that book, the authors sought to bridge the gap between mental and physical health by introducing a systems-based approach that unites unites physicians, psychologists, family therapists, social workers, nurses, counselors, and therapists of all theoretical orientations in working with families across a wide range of professional settings. In this thorough revision and update of their classic text, the authors describe the impact of recent economic and structural changes in health care on the role of the medical family therapist. They describe how medical and mental health providers can learn to speak the same language, whether they collaborate in outpatient therapy, co-location settings, community health centers, or fully-integrated health systems. They also take into account exciting new advances in fertility treatments and genomic medicine, and assess the medical family therapist's role in navigating the unique conflicts that can arise in families dealing with these and similar issues.
In the narrative of every human life and family, illness is a prominent character. Even if we have avoided serious illness ourselves, we cannot escape its reach into our circle of family and friends. Illness brings us closer to one another through caregiving and separates us through disability and death, yet little attention has been paid to personal and family illness in psychotherapy. Rather, therapists tend to focus on the psychosocial realm, leaving the biological realm to other physicians and nurses. This groundbreaking volume shows the powerful benefits that can emerge when therapists acknowledge illness as a vital part of everyone's psychology. Susan H. McDaniel, Jeri Hepworth, and William J. Doherty invited therapists who work with individuals and families experiencing chronic illness and disability to describe clinical cases that illustrate their approach to medical family therapy. Contributors then were asked to share a personal story about their experiences with illness, and to explain how those experiences affect the way they work with their clients. Vivid case studies dealing with a range of illnesses, including cancer infertility, schizophrenia, AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and multiple sclerosis, show how the therapists' own experiences of illness are relevant to their care of others-and how these experiences can be used to form a healing bond in therapy. As we head toward a new century, therapists play a central role in the delivery of comprehensive healthcare. We now know that psychology and social factors have a direct effect on the development and exacerbation of illness and disease, and that involvement of the family with the healthcare team is vital. Poignant, honest, and illuminating, The Shared Experience of Illness allows us to understand more fully the relationship between the personal and the professional. This invaluable work provides inspiration and insight for anyone working at the cuttifng edge of our healthcare system.
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