What is the benefit of psychoeducation for practitioners?
Research has shown that psychoeducation provides practitioners with an opportunity to:
Promote improved clinical outcomes, satisfaction, and higher rates of recovery amongst their clients
Feel more supported in their efforts to manage the effects of illness
Build relationships with families
Experience improved cost-benefit
In fact, many practitioners find that their work with families helps them develop their own professional skills. They describe an improved understanding of the effect of illness on family relations and an improved ability to shift their own perspectives from practitioner to partner.
Who is the target population?
The greatest amount of research has shown benefits for people with schizophrenic disorders and their families. Further, people who participate in family psychoeducation at an early stage of their illness have especially promising outcomes in terms of symptoms and employment. Increasing evidence shows that new versions for mood disorders, OCD, and borderline personality disorder are effective, as well for consumers who lack family support altogether. Thus, the population with the greatest benefit will be those with the most severe psychiatric disorders.
Family refers to anyone who cares about the consumer. It does not have to be a relative or a person sharing the same living space.
What can I do to implement family psychoeducation?
Mental health systems that have some psychosocial or psychotherapy services, can largely reallocate services toward family psychoeducation. If multi-family groups are established, total service efforts will actually decrease by the end of the first year. A recent cost- effectiveness study shows that the extra effort will be more than recouped in saved crisis/intensive treatment efforts and costs. Special arrangements may be needed to provide access to families from some cultural groups. It is very useful to consult with and involve the local or state chapter of NAMI.
This approach is designed to largely replace individual meetings with consumers. The most cost-effective approach is to simply include the family in most ongoing sessions, whether in single or multi-family group format. Most licensed mental health practitioners can learn to work within this model quite effectively. That includes social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and case managers. The usual steps toward establishing services include an agency-wide orientation and program consultation, intensive clinical training, and about one year of group supervision.
Family Psychoeducation Toolkit