Although transfer of psychiatric patients from one unit to another is a routine clinical procedure, it may constitute a crisis for patients and their families. The 61 recently transferred patients and 46 family members interviewed for this study expressed substantial dissatisfaction with the transfer process, especially with the planning and preparation stages. Based on their responses, the authors developed a model for understanding and improving inpatient transfers. The transfer process consists of four stages—planning, preparation, transfer, and adjustment—each of which presents different tasks for the patient, his family, and staff. The authors believe their transfer model is applicable to the transfer of medical inpatients and psychiatric outpatients.