Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Medical Model in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Douglas P. McPhee
  • W. David RobinsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_418


Biomedical model


The medical model’s influence upon couple and family therapy is profound. Borrowing from medicine, couple and family therapists often adhere to evidence-based protocols to guide treatment. Additionally, many couple and family therapists diagnose and encourage the use of medication regularly. Yet, in treating illness, the medical community has traditionally emphasized biological treatment, underestimating the importance of a patient’s psychological, familial, and social challenges. By stressing that greater attention to the psychosocial needs of individuals and families is critical to providing effective care, couple and family therapists break from the medical model and its focus on treating patients’ physiological symptoms. It is noteworthy, however, that the medical community has increasingly moved toward providing patients with more comprehensive care over the last several decades.

Theoretical Context for Concept

Humans have sought to...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA