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Logo of jroyalcgpracBJGP at RCGPBJGP at PubMed CentralJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralRCGP homepage
J R Coll Gen Pract. 1978 November; 28(196): 661–667.
PMCID: PMC2158955

The work of a clinical psychologist in primary care


The data presented suggest that general practitioners would be likely to refer a large number of patients with diverse problems to clinical psychologists working in health centres. Compared with a centrally organized clinical psychology service, the work of the primary care psychologist is likely to offer the following advantages:

1. Access to psychological help for patients with a need for such help, but who could not attend a central clinic owing to problems associated with travel, work, physical disability, or even a presenting problem such as agoraphobia.

2. Greater continuity of care of patients.

3. Increased communication between the psychologist and members of the primary care teams.

4. Possibility of the psychologist seeing the patient earlier, before the problems have become entrenched.

5. Less need for referral to other agencies.

6. Reduced stigma for the patient.

7. Development of new therapeutic approaches relevant to problems presenting in primary care.

8. More flexible and more relevant therapy due to seeing the patients in their home setting.

9. Greater therapeutic involvement of the patient's family.

10. Reduced costs and inconvenience for the patient's family.

11. Reduced administrative and ambulance service costs.

While these points do not overcome the need for a formal evaluation of the work of psychologists in primary care, they do suggest that there are advantages in this type of service over the services which are currently available and that a full evaluation would be worth undertaking.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Broadhurst A. Clinical psychology and the general practitioner. Br Med J. 1972 Mar 25;1(5803):793–795. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brook A, Temperley J. The contribution of a psychotherapist to general practice. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1976 Feb;26(163):86–94. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fordyce WE, Fowler RS, Jr, Lehmann JF, DeLateur BJ. Some implications of learning in problems of chronic pain. J Chronic Dis. 1968 Jun;21(3):179–190. [PubMed]
  • Johnston M. Behavioural treatment of an eating problem. Nurs Times. 1976 Jul 15;72(28):1098–1099. [PubMed]
  • Kincey JA. General practice and clinical psychology -- some arguments for a closer liaison. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1974 Dec;24(149):882–888. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McAllister TA, Philip AE. The clinical psychologist in a health centre: one year's work. Br Med J. 1975 Nov 29;4(5995):513–514. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners