There will be times when the problems presented by a patient or his family will be beyond the scope of counseling. The physician will be -fronted with the responsibility of making a recommendation to the family to help them find assistance in dealing with the problem. In order to advise the family effectively, it is necessary that the physician have an understanding of the resources available and how these resources provide help. Psychotherapy is an approach to the patient’s problems that extends beyond the usual scope of counseling. To effectively refer someone for psychotherapy, a physician should know about the process and the various systems of Therapy.
In application, psychotherapy is viewed as a more intense experience than counseling. Usually there is more structure to the process. The range of problems presented in psychotherapy is more complex, more disturbing to the Individual, and more deeply rooted. While there are systems of psychotherapy that are short term, the process usually carries on over a longer time span than would be the case in counseling. As with counseling, there are many theories and systems of psychotherapy. The systems differ in techniques or emphasis, but the overall goal is the same: to produce healthy behavior in a situation where unhealthy behavior has been typical.
A physician may consider referring a patient for psychotherapy after he has vied counseling without success, or if he thinks the problem is sufficiently complex to require skills beyond his training. The decision to make the referral is important, but it is equally important that the referring physician he able to understand what the patient will be experiencing during therapy. This understanding is necessary not only to make a realistic referral, but also because the referring physician must be ready to work with the psychotherapist in supporting the process of therapy.
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