Social constructivist approaches for brief, episodic, problem-focused family encounters.
Clinicians of many health care disciplines provide health care services to the family unit. Because of the multiple perspectives that individual family members bring to the health care encounter, family-focused primary health care presents special challenges for providers. The need to reconcile multiple individual family member perspectives requires that clinicians develop increasingly more sophisticated, effective, family intervention skills that can be used in busy primary care settings. Social constructivism can provide a means through which clinicians can quickly engage families in creating a consensus on health issues, thus leading to effective, efficient problem solving. This paper reviews the origins and principles of social constructivist thought and describes assessment questions and therapeutic stances that can be used to empower families to become active participants in the process of initiating their own health-related life changes. These approaches are useful for episodic, brief, problem-focused encounters with families in many primary care practice settings.
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