On Family Therapy Training in Psychiatric Education: A Recent Trainee's Perspective

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Family therapy has been labelled a neglected core competency of psychiatric residency training programs. Several models of effective integration into training in both general and child and adolescent psychiatry have been proposed, yet the restraint exhibited in educational guidelines to guide developed family therapy programming results in varied trainee experiences. This perspective piece offers the narrative of a trainee's progression through one educational program that offered a generous elective engagement with family therapy. This piece intends to complement in an original manner the existing literature supporting family therapy training for psychiatric trainees that are usually authored by senior clinicians and/or established proponents of family therapy. The program described in this piece is an American model that entailed mandatory seminar didactics with elective active case involvement and clinical supervision. The author's three-year engagement with a family consisting of a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia and his mother, who comprised the active case component, is presented with a description of how both the family and the clinician developed through the process. The conclusion comments upon how this work facilitated ongoing work with severely disturbed children and their families upon the trainee's graduation to serve as a unit attending on a child and adolescent psychiatry acute inpatient service. This piece illustrates in a personal narrative the importance of family therapy training to the contemporary graduate and recommends greater immersion for psychiatric trainees in this modality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • child and adolescent psychiatry
  • family therapy
  • psychosis
  • training


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