Liaison to Physicians
A large percentage of patients with psychosocial problems seek care from their primary-care physicians and/or specialists, not from mental health professionals. Some patients have psychological symptoms that arise in response to health problems (e.g., dealing with chronic, painful, or life-threatening illnesses), whereas other patients have symptoms that they define as evidence of illness, but which are actually reflections of psychological problems. These patients pose a significant challenge to health care providers, especially with capitation restrictions on time, testing, and reimbursement. The Committee on Psychoanalysis in Medicine of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society has been examining the psychosocial factors that complicate the medical management of these patients in a medical setting. Several of the committee members have had extensive experience in teaching physicians within university medical departments (e.g., family medicine, internal medicine, nephrology, oncology, and pediatrics) or community hospitals.
The committee has developed and field-tested a workshop for physicians. The workshop focuses on helping physicians: 1) understand common dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship, 2) understand the psychological aspects of various physical symptoms and symptom presentations, 3) make diagnostic use of their own emotional reactions to patients, and 4) manage challenging patients and difficult patient encounters in a sensitive, realistic, and cost-effective manner. Reviews at the annual scientific meetings of the Michigan State Medical Society have given the workshops excellent ratings. The goals of the committee are to provide skill-development workshops for interested physicians and physician groups, to provide an ongoing consultation group for managing challenging patients, and to provide case consultation for individual physicians.
For information about workshops or consultation, please contact Dr. Cassandra Klyman.