In his Feb. 12 letter, Lawrence R. John, M.D., advocated the need for greater communication between a primary care physician's office and mental health professionals ("Helping Patients"). This exchange, it is reasoned, would ultimately be to the psychological and medical benefit of the patient.
As a practicing clinical psychologist in a private practice setting for over 25 years, I could not agree more with Dr. John's assessment. There has been overwhelming evidence to support the contention that when a collaborative relationship exists between the referring professional and the treating clinician, the patient receives the most beneficial and thorough treatment. Not only is this care qualitatively enhanced, but it also becomes cost-effective for the patient -- i.e., fewer office visits.
I am therefore encouraging my psychologist colleagues to venture out from our comfort zone. We need to increase the knowledge of the vast array of help psychologists can offer other professionals as we work more collaboratively in the best interest of the patient.
As mental health professionals, we often portray ourselves as effective role models for people we encounter during the course of treatment. Let us take a similar position with professionals in the referring community. We must make it known what we can offer our medical colleagues, and more importantly, the mental health benefits their patients will receive when we collaboratively interact within the context of helping professionals.
RICHARD G. FREY, Ph.D.
Cranberry Psychological Center Inc.