Couples

If the victim and the violent partner are both patients of the same family physician, this will present unique challenges. An American Medical Association consensus statement advises that this dual relationship is not a conflict of interest, but that each patient should be handled independently (Ferris et al., 1997). Confidentiality must be maintained unless the victim has given consent. Couples counseling is generally contraindicated, especially when violence is ongoing. Family physicians may have neither the time nor the training to address this complex situation; couples who are safe and desire counseling should generally be referred to appropriate mental health professionals.

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