Handbook of Family Therapy: The Science and Practice of Working with Families and Couples

By Thomas L. Sexton; Gerald R. Weeks et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 20

Psychoeducation and Enrichment

Clinical Considerations for Couple and Family Therapy

RITA DEMARIA, PhD
Council for Relationships


INTRODUCTION

Contemporary marriage, couples', and family education programs are an extension of programs that go back to the earliest roots of marriage and family therapy and marriage enrichment. Although family psychoeducational programs have been used most extensively with families of patients with schizophrenia (Goldstein & Miklowitz, 1995; McFarlane, 1991), families of adolescents with conduct disorders (Chamberlain & Rosicky, 1995), parents of children with behavioral disorders (Estrada & Pinsof, 1995), and in health-related treatment programs (alcoholism, eating disorders, heart disease) (Campbell & Patterson, 1995), basic research on marriage and intimacy is being applied to marriage and relationship education programs, which is furthering yet more research, theory, program development, and debate (Gottman, Carrere, Coan, & Swanson, 2000; Stanley, Bradbury, & Markman, 2000). The inclusion of a chapter on couples' and family education in a text on family therapy requires a discussion of clinical practice implications. Given advances in the literature describing psychoeducation for couples (Arcus, Schvaneveldt, & Moss, 1993; Berger & Hannah, 1999; Hunt, Hof, & DeMaria, 1998), this chapter will explore how marriage and couples' education, in particular, can enhance clinical work with couples. In addition, a systemically based model is proposed that clinicians can use to determine how educational and enrichment programs might be useful in their family treatment plans, especially with seriously distressed couples and families. In the proposed model, couple, marriage, and family treatment, education, and enrichment are not either/or services geared to the level of family distress and dysfunction; rather, each

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