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Identified Patient

The identified patient (IP) is the individual in the family or couple whose problematic behavior triggers the family or couple’s motivation to seek therapy. In a family system, this person is often a child who may be experiencing academic, behavioral, or emotional difficulties within or outside of school. The IP may also be an individual in a family or a couple who is engaging in problematic substance use or who is experiencing symptoms that indicate a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. Within the context of couple and family therapy, the IP motivates engagement in therapy; however, he or she is not generally the sole focus of intervention. Because an individual’s symptoms are both influenced by and exert influence upon the couple or ...

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