Family Psychoeducation for Severe Mental Illness

Authored by: William McFarlane

Handbook of family therapy

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415518017
eBook ISBN: 9780203123584
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Family intervention for the severe psychiatric syndromes—psychotic and severe mood disorders—has been established as one of the most effective treatments available. Often subsumed under the term “family psychoeducation,” it is a method for incorporating a patient’s family members, other caregivers, and friends into the acute and ongoing treatment and the rehabilitation process. The descriptor “psychoeducation” can be misleading: family psychoeducation includes cognitive, behavioral, and supportive therapeutic elements, often utilizes a consultative framework, and shares characteristics with some models of family therapy. Based on a family–patient–professional partnership, the most effective models are essentially cognitive-behavioral therapy with consistent inclusion of family members as collaborators. As a substitute for a family member, it can include any friend or para-professional person who is providing support to persons with a severe mental illness. It combines providing clear, understandable, and accurate education for family members about the psychobiology of the major disorders with training and ongoing guidance in problem-solving, communication skills, and coping skills, while providing and developing social support. The goals are to improve clinical and functional outcomes and quality of life for the patient and to reduce family stress and strain as an indispensable means of achieving those outcomes. It combines the complementary expertise and experience of family members, patients, and professionals.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.