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‘I'm not a family therapist. OK?’ Working Constructively with Families in Aged Psychiatry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2013

Catherine Hudgson*
Eastern Health Aged Persons Mental Health Service (Peter James Centre), Victoria
Pam Rycroft
The Bouverie Centre, Brunswick, Victoria
Shraeveni Giri
Southern Health Aged Persons Mental Health Service (The Kingston Centre), Victoria
Address for correspondence: Catherine Hudgson, Aged Persons’ Mental Health, Peter James Centre, Cnr Mahoney's Rd and Burwood Hwy, Burwood East, VIC, 3151 E-mail:
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This paper reports on the first phase of a larger study aimed at investigating factors hindering family work and exploring ways to improve the amount and quality of family contact within a community aged mental health service in Melbourne, Australia. During the first phase of the project, 28 mental health professionals were interviewed about their views and experiences. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analysed in terms of repeating themes. The range of attitudes, beliefs and feelings about family work is summarised in this paper. Polarities emerged around questions of whether or not to engage family members, and if so, what function family work fulfils. The interviews also provided useful information on clinicians’ beliefs about what would increase the possibility of family work. The paper concludes with a discussion about how to recognize and value family work in this area and target sustainable interventions during the second phase of the study.

Copyright © The Authors 2013

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