Psychoeducation has a primary goal of educating a patient and their named supports about the disorder, its biological underpinnings, its course, and guideline concordant care including psychotropic medications. Patients usually work to identify their early warning sides for manic or depressive episodes and common triggers for symptoms. Psychoeducation typically occurs in a group format, but can be completed individually.
One of the best tested approaches is by Colom and colleagues and consists of 21 group sessions of 90 minutes, each aimed at improving 4 main issues: illness awareness, treatment compliance, early detection of prodromal symptoms and recurrences, and lifestyle regularity (e.g., sleep). A typical Colom program session consists of 30-40 minute speech on the topic of the day, followed by an exercise related to the issue (e.g., writing a list of potential triggering factors), and then a group discussion. Participation is encouraged.
Colom, F., Vieta, E., Sanchez-Moreno, J., Martinez-Aran, A., Reinares, M., Goikolea, J. M., & Scott, J. (2005). Stabilizing the stabilizer: group psychoeducation enhances the stability of serum lithium levels. Bipolar Disorders, 7, 32-36.
Colom, F., Vieta, E., Martinez-Aran, A., Reinares, M., Goikolea, J. M., Benabarre, A., et al. (2003). A randomized trial on the efficacy of group psychoeducation in the prophylaxis of recurrences in bipolar patients whose disease is in remission. Archives of Gen Psychiatry, 60, 402-407.
Colom, F., Vieta, E., Reinares, M., Martinez-Aran, A., Torrent, C., Goikolea, J. M., & Gasto, C. (2003). Psychoeducation efficacy in bipolar disorders: beyond compliance enhancement. J Clin Psychiatry, 64, 1101-1105.