Psychologists, Behavioral Health and Primary Care – Oh My!

behaviorchangeBlog post by Colin Hung

One of the best things about social media is meeting people with different perspectives. I am constantly amazed at all the points of view that people “see” problems. Each of us has a unique lens through which we see the world – a lens shaped by training and experience.

Dr Ann Becker-Schutte

Dr Ann Becker-Schutte

A few months ago I had the privilege to speak with Dr. Ann Becker-Schutte (a regular contributor to #hcldr, a fellow #TheWalkingGallery member and co-founder of the #InnoPsy tweetchat) and she said something that I found profound:

A lot of what primary care providers struggle with is encouraging patients to adopt new and healthier behaviors. From minor changes like  getting more sleep, losing weight and taking medication as instructed to more complex issues around substance abuse, depression and ADHD – primary care providers see it all. Helping people to make changes and overall “brain health” is what psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors have been doing for a long time. Primary care doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, they can leverage us.

I must admit I had to think about this for a while, but the more I considered what Becker-Schutte said, the more it made sense.

Dr Susan Giurleo

Dr. Susan Giurleo

Becker-Schutte and #InnoPsy’s other co-founder, Dr. Susan Giurleo, have put forward an interesting proposition – that psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors can collaborate with primary care physicians to provide support and more comprehensive care to patients. That together they can better motivate patients to achieve the healthy changes they need to make to live a healthier/longer life.

The #InnoPsy tweetchat exists to change the status quo. #InnoPsy seeks to open the eyes of healthcare to the benefits that “behavior health professionals” offer. Because of the link between physical and mental health, they want to work together with their clinical peers to help patients – especially those with cognitive dysfunction, depression, anxiety or high stress.

This collaboration is so important that the American Psychological Association created a special issue of their American Psychologist magazine to this topic.

“At the heart of the new primary care team is a partnership between a primary care clinician and a psychologist or other mental health professional. The team works together to produce a comprehensive, integrated personal care plan for each patient that includes attention to mental and medical disorders, addresses substance abuse issues and incorporates health behavior change,”

– Susan H. McDaniel and Frank V. deGruy III

Join us Tuesday July 15th 2014 at 8:30pm Eastern Time (for your local time click here) for a joint tweetchat with Dr. Ann Becker-Schutte and Dr. Susan Giurleo of #InnoPsy. From 8:30pm-9:30pm, the normal #hcldr timeslot, we will be discussing the following four topics:

  • T1: Making lifestyle/healthy changes is hard. What tactics worked for you? How did you stay motivated?
  • T2: If you could change one or two behaviors in healthcare to reduce costs what would they be?
  • T3: What type of support (peer/clinical/admin/gov’t) or tech would have helped to make the T1 or T2 changes?
  • T4: As a patient, would you be open to support for behavior change/lifestyle coaching via your primary care physician’s office?

Then at 9:30pm ET, the normal timeslot for #InnoPsy, we will continue the conversation with the following four topics:

  • T5: What would make patients more comfortable with receiving help/support for +ve lifestyle changes via primary care office?
  • T6: How do we start to shift health care culture to integrate behavioral health and physical health?
  • T7: What kinds of training would help all health care providers collaborate more effectively?
  • T8: How can we foster more collaboration between Psychologists & other behavioral health pros & primary care providers?

This marks the first collaborative tweetchat for #hcldr. We are honored to be sharing the moderating duties with our friends at #InnoPsy. We hope you will join us for the full 2hrs as there will undoubtedly be valuable ideas and insights shared.


“An Introduction to Primary Care and Psychology” Susan McDaniel and Frank deGruy, American Psychologist, June 2014, accessed July 13 2014

“100 Strong: Integration Continues to Grow”, Laura Galbreath, SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions,, accessed July 13 2014

“Integrating mental health and primary care”, S. Thielke et al, Primary Care, Septebmer 2007,, accessed July 13 2014

“High prevalence of mental disorders in primary care”, M. Ansseau et al, Journal of Affective Disorders, January 2004,, accessed July 13 2014

“Health psychology in primary care: recent research and future directions”, S. Thielke et al, Psychology Research and Behavior Management, June 1 2011,, accessed July 13 2014

“Psychology on the Front Line of Primary Care”, Jean Genier, Psynopsis, 2010,, accessed July 13 2014

Image Credit



  1. Reblogged this on Ann Becker-Schutte, Ph.D. and commented:
    Can’t wait to participate in this collaboration.

  2. Reblogged this on Karensolis. Psychohealth and commented:
    I’m so glad to hear and read about this effort of contribution between psychology and health care… I have been honored to meet Anne at MedX last year and I’m completely sure her contributions to this topics are very valuables. Congratulations to #HCLDR and #innoPsy. I’ll be waiting to participate with you in the tweetchat.

  3. I’m so glad to hear and read about this effort of contribution between psychology and health care… I have been honored to meet Anne at MedX last year and I’m completely sure her contributions to this topics are very valuables. Congratulations to #HCLDR and #innoPsy. I’ll be waiting to participate with you in the tweetchat.

  4. […] #MedPsych/#InnoPsy – on the topic of Behavioral Health and Primary Care […]

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