An Introduction to Primary Care and Psychology



This article by Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, and Frank V. deGruy III, MD, MSFM, serves as the introduction to the recent special issue of American Psychologist , the journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).  The authors point out that

“The value of primary care turns on its comprehensiveness, which means that behavioral health care-health behavior change, mental health care, management of psychological symptoms and psychosocial distress, and attention to substance abuse-must be woven into the fabric of primary care practice. This integration is beginning to happen as psychologists and other behavioral health clinicians are incorporated as essential team members in the patient-centered medical home and other emerging models of primary care.”

The article introduces psychologists to the changes evolving in primary care and the variety of roles for psychologists as the new health care system emerges in the U.S. The authors go on to explain the many aspects of primary care transformation, such as policy, research and education, and the roles psychologist play in each facet. Each of these facets is further explicated in the subsequent articles in this special issue of the APA journal.

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