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Perspectives in Practice – Part 1

Identifying why a person is suffering is important if I am going to have a chance to help them do something about it.  I use a method that is described in the book, The Perspectives of Psychiatry, by Paul McHugh, M.D. and Phillip Slavney, M.D.

This method involves the assessment of a person from 4 different perspectives, that when added together give a comprehensive view.  This is similar to the way 3-color printing works.  3 colors are combined with black to produce a full color picture with a nearly infinite range of colors.  If you were to view only one layer of color you would not be seeing the entire picture.  The same would be said if you were to view all of the layers together but on separate sheets of paper.  Viewing all of the layers together on the same sheet of paper is the only way to see the entire picture.  With a person this is very hard to do but it is worth aspiring to.  The alternative is to see only one aspect of a person and hope that interventions there will be enough to produce some positive result.

Over the next few weeks I am going to describe these 4 perspectives and how they are used to help patients think, feel, and act in more effective ways.  The goal of this is to present some subtle and complex information to the public in a way that is accessible without oversimplifying things.  Let me know if you think this succeeds.

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