Parallel Process in the Family Medicine System: Issues and Challenges for Resident Training

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

This article uses the concept of parallel process to examine resident training as one component in a system of interlocking relationships. Parallel process is defined, and its applicability to the dynamic exchange of help-seeking and help-giving behaviors which lies at the core of the health care system is examined. The concept of stages or phases in parallel process development next is explored. A relational model for optimal functioning between resident-patient and attending-resident is proposed, as well as an illustrative examination of one of the more problematic issues which a parallel process analysis can bring to light. Therapeutic interventions to enhance help-giving and help-seeking at different levels of the system are defined and analyzed, and educational implications for resident training are summarized.

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