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Meet with families

  • Initially, consumers and their families meet with a practitioner at least three separate times to review illness history, warning signs, coping strategies, concerns, and goals for themselves in the program. This is the stage in which rapport and trust are established, as well as the beginning of family education.

  • Five to seven consumers and their families participate in one multi-family group. All of these sessions should be reimbursable by insurance. The sessions may last up to two years and often continue longer by request of consumers and their families.

  • Five to seven families come together to learn specifics of the illness in a daylong workshop before the first multi-family group or single-family session.

  • Some families prefer, and benefit from, continuing in a single-family format.

The program requires co-facilitators

Some agencies report that having three facilitators for multi-family groups is helpful, since it allows staff to rotate through the group, as well as take turns observing one another’s techniques. Single-family work is usually done by one practitioner only.

FPE and multi-family groups have a pragmatic, structured, problem-solving format

Experience with group process is not a prerequisite for successful co-facilitation. Staffs interested in learning a new group model often embrace the multi-family group.

Initially co-facilitators take a reduced caseload

Or do not take on new cases. For the first three to four months of family psychoeducation, staff should have no new cases so that the program can get off to a good start. In some instances caseloads are reorganized so that the family psychoeducation cases, especially in multi-family groups, are comprised of participants from more than one clinical caseload, which frees up staff time to take on new cases.

Train staff

Plan to co-facilitate a family psychoeducation training before program implementation. This training would include didactic and experiential information about the techniques for best practice in single or multi-family processes. If needed, it would include didactic and experiential information about the techniques for best practice in culturally diverse settings.

Ensure ongoing supervision for facilitators

This is critical for the programs success. Supervision can be accomplished in person, or long distance through conference calls, telecommunication, or review of videos of the groups in process. Culturally knowledgeable supervisors or consultants are available for the major populations in the United States.

Provide important operational supports

Manage the details of implementation, such as locating a group meeting site, finding funding for refreshments, investigating reimbursement issues, defining documentation and quality improvement criteria, or facilitating a review of the agency’s policies and procedures to be sure that they support FPE.

Family Psychoeducation Toolkit

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