IMPLEMENTATION TIPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM LEADERS
The Evidenced-Based Practices Project presents public mental health authorities with a unique opportunity to improve clinical services for adults with severe mental illness. Service system research has evolved to a point where it can identify a cluster of practices that demonstrate a consistent, positive impact on the lives of people who have experienced psychiatric symptoms.
This document is designed to help you, as a mental health program leader, understand the contents of the family psychoeducation (FPE) resource kit; and to provide useful strategies for implementing a family psychoeducation program in routine clinical practice. This document draws upon the experiences of other mental health program leaders who have successfully implemented FPE programs, including multi-family psychoeducational groups, in their organizations.
What is family psychoeducation?
Family psychoeducation is a specific method of working in partnership with consumers and families in a long-term treatment model to help them develop increasingly sophisticated coping skills for handling problems posed by mental illness. The goal is that practitioner, consumer, and family work together to support recovery. Common issues are:
participation in outpatient programs
understanding prescribed medication
drug or alcohol abuse
symptoms that affect the consumer
Family psychoeducation respects and incorporates individual, family, perspectives. It engenders hope in place of desperation and demoralization.
Psychoeducation can be used in a single family or multi-family group format, depending on the consumers and family’s wishes, as well as empirical indications. Single family and multi- family group versions will have different outcomes in the long term, but there are similar components. The approach has several phases, each having a specific format:
Joining with consumers and their families.
The practitioner establishes a rapport with family members and the consumer, which continues throughout their involvement in treatment. For many practitioners, this requires a shift in traditional roles.
Education about the illness and coping skills.
The practitioner helps families understand that their loved one suffers from a bona fide illness. This relieves families of their guilt and anxiety, so they are able to make major contributions toward recovery.
Problem-solving for difficulties caused by illness and circumstances created by the illness.
Problems are anything that interferes with treatment and recovery, as well as illness and symptom management.
Family Psychoeducation Toolkit