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My Fantasy Football Healthcare Team

Posted By Jennifer Hodgson, Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Disclaimer- I am a Medical Family Therapist. My training is in systems theory and my lens is biopsychosocial-spiritual. My advanced degrees are in marriage and family therapy but my postdoctoral training is in medical family therapy.

Perhaps my husband's push to have me join his fantasy football league has impacted my use of metaphors these days. However, I offer up a challenge, that we create a fantasy healthcare team comprised of the "best" providers for the setting rather than what we believe are the "best" professions.

Working in healthcare has always been a strong passion of mine and is evident throughout my clinical, research, teaching, and program development interests. Ever since I chose my profession, I have felt more like a line backer than a mental health professional. Blocking aggressive maneuvers by other mental health professional groups to create space for my existence is a continuous battle. The culture of healthcare has bred this competitive state of being where we profess that we can do what another discipline does and even do it better. Our fragmented system has led us all to scramble for as much yardage as we can capture, building large pots of money to use when we need to lobby and secure our place in the industry. From lobbyists to insurance panels, money seems to determine what kinds of care people have access to and not necessarily the most well trained professional for their presenting concerns.

Many of my closest friends are from mental health professions that are not of my own. We all sit around confused as to why so many mental health professionals are intimidated by the presence of other disciplines. Sure we have crossover, but the added skills that we all bring are unique and necessary. Research has yet to catch up to this issue but that is another blog. Before we cast doubt on someone's credibility we need to make sure that we review the available literature on our own. For example, it makes me want to "call an audible" to hear that some people think my profession is an intervention that can be done by anyone with a mental health or medical degree. I hear this same thing about my colleagues in other mental health fields who specialize working in healthcare and medical settings. Anyone who knows what it is like to enter into a medical setting for the first time knows that you cannot do so without a clinical and/or research skill set and specialized training in healthcare practice.

Mental health professionals should not be judged by their license only, but by the skills and expertise they bring to the medical home. I want us to be about quality and not job security. We need each mental health discipline just like we need every medical specialization. Our consumers should have the right to choose which professional has the best training and skill set for their presenting concern. I believe this is called parity. Thoughts?

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