Behavioral Health

Welcome to Behavioral Health

Behavioral health faculty provide training to residents, students and medical faculty about the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of medical care, and participate in research concerning these issues.

Core Principle: We aspire to excellent biopsychosocial healthcare for our patients. The behavioral health residency curriculum should be incorporated into all inpatient and outpatient learning experiences

Curricular Goals

  • To promote family systems thinking and inclusion of psychosocial, cultural, and spiritual components of medical care.

  • To promote an understanding of the patient-physician relationship and the concept of "physician as medicine.

  • To assist in teaching recognition and treatment of mental illness and unhealthy substance use in the primary care setting including collaborating with integrated behavioral health providers.

Examples of resident training activities

Hazelden/Springbrook "Family Week": All residents spend three  full days participating in the "family week" activities at an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program. They join with the families of inpatients to learn in depth about the 12-step model of recovery from substance abuse, and learn about Al-anon as a program of recovery for family members. Many of the inpatients are medical professionals which fosters an atmosphere of reflection by the residents.

Video Review: All residents are scheduled into three videotape review sessions each year. They are expected to videotape (with consent) at least one patient encounter for each session. Each session consists of a faculty member and three residents. Discussion focuses on the patient-physician interactions from a behavioral health viewpoint. This is intended as an opportunity for residents to receive faculty feedback about their interactive style with patients, as well as practice giving and receiving feedback.

Family Therapy Clinic: First year residents spend three afternoons during their behavioral science rotation with the family therapy clinic in pediatric psychiatry. They work alongside psychiatry residents and are supervised by an attending psychiatrist as they observe and then debrief a family therapy session conducted by a resident psychiatrist.

Examples of bi-monthly didactic lectures

  • Introduction to BATHE Technique
  • Suicide Prevention in Youth and Young People
  • Effectively Working with Challenging Patients
  • Medically Unexplained Symptoms
  • Motivational Interviewing in the Primary Care Visit

Longitudinal family systems curriculum

During their third year, residents complete a sixteen week longitudinal curriculum in family systems theory. The curriculum includes readings, film, resident genogram presentations and discussion. During these sixteen weeks, residents increase their understanding of family systems theory and how to incorporate aspects of the theory into their clinical practice to enhance patient care, improve outcomes and increase effectiveness in the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Residents learn how to develop and read a genogram and apply the knowledge to their clinical encounters.
  • Residents learn how to elicit family of origin material during their clinical encounters and learn open ended questioning style to engage family members in clinical encounter
  • Residents understand how their own family of origin influences their work as clinicians and will be able to identify areas of reactivity in order to enhance neutrality and clinical effectiveness.

Balint and Support Group

Resident Balint Group: Balint group meetings are held on average every three weeks beginning third year of residency, as part of our Wednesday afternoon conference days. The Balint Group is a small-group method of discussing and reflecting on the doctor-patient relationship. It was developed in the 1950s in England, and is used as a training technique world-wide. The purpose of the Balint Group Session is to build empathy for the patient and to explore creatively the unique bond between doctor and patient.

Resident Support Groups: A support group is held for first- and second-year residents biweekly, supervised by an experienced group leader, to help process personal and professional issues particular to family physician training.