Over time, there has been an unfortunate tendency within mental health services to focus on the needs and difficulties of the individual without any serious appreciation of the relationships context(s) in which these difficulties may be taking place. This tendency may result from the influence of a number of factors: A biomedical approach tends to foreground physiological processes that are seen as internal to the person.The legislative framework for social care in the community prioritises individual assessment — although subsequent carers’ legislation has sought to redress this to some extent.The training of most mental health professionals does not equip them with the skills to work with family groups.Protecting confidentiality has been widely used as a rationale for assuming that friends and relatives should be excluded from anything more that very general information about the service user — without checking out whether such practices are actually in the service user’s best interests.
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