What is Family Psychoeducation?

Family Psychoeducation that lasts at least 6 months is widely acknowledged to be critical to good clinical practice for individuals with schizophrenia. Family psychoeducation significantly reduces the risk for relapse in individuals with schizophrenia. Research demonstrating the effectiveness of the family psychoeducation for this population dates back to the late 1970s and has been replicated in several studies. Key elements of effective family interventions include illness education, crisis intervention, emotional support, and training in how to cope with illness symptoms and related problems. Given the robust evidence, several treatment guidelines for individuals with schizophrenia state that individuals with schizophrenia who have ongoing contact with their families, including biological relatives and non-biological significant others (as defined by the patient), would be offered a family intervention lasting at least 6 months. It is recognized that families can have a hard time attending for 6 months, and there has been research on shorter interventions including those that last only 4 sessions. Briefer interventions include education, training, problem-solving, and support. Benefits include symptoms reduction, improved treatment adherence, and improved functioning. Family psychoeducation can also positively impact the family by reducing family burden, increasing knowledge, improved coping, and improved family functioning.

REFERENCES:

McFarlane WR, Lukens E, Link B, et al. (1995). Multiple-family groups and psychoeducation in the treatment of schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52 (8), 679–687.

Randolph ET, Eth S, Glynn SM, et al. (1994) Behavioural family management in schizophrenia: outcome of a clinic-based intervention. British Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 501–506.

Tarrier N, Barrowclough C, Vaughn C, et al. (1988) The community management of schizophrenia: a controlled trial of a behavioural intervention with families to reduce relapse. British Journal of Psychiatry, 153, 532–542.

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