Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Psychoeducation in Psychiatric Disorders General Principles of Psychoeducation

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Psychoeducation in Psychiatric Disorders General Principles of Psychoeducation

Article excerpt

Byline: Sujit. Sarkhel, O. Singh, Manu. Arora


In the last few decades, psychoeducation has come up as a useful and effective mode of psychotherapy for persons with mental illness. It has been found to be fruitful in both clinical and community settings.

Psychoeducation has its roots in the 'Mental Hygiene Movement' of the early 20th century and 'Deinstitutionalization Movement' of the 1950s and 1960s. Subsequently, studies on the role of 'Expressed Emotions' in schizophrenia provided further impetus to the growth of psychoeducation.

Psychoeducation combines the elements of cognitive-behavior therapy, group therapy, and education. The basic aim is to provide the patient and families knowledge about various facets of the illness and its treatment so that they can work together with mental health professionals for a better overall outcome.

What Is Psychoeducation?

Anderson et al . used the term for the first time in 1980 for the family treatment of patients with schizophrenia. They mentioned four essential elements of psychoeducation [Table 1]. They suggested that the relatives of the patients were also to be included in the sessions.{Table 1}

Barker, in the Social Work Dictionary, defined psychoeducation as the 'process of teaching clients with mental illness and their family members about the nature of the illness, including its etiology, progression, consequences, prognosis, treatment, and alternatives.'

Goals of Psychoeducation

*To ensure basic knowledge and competence of patients and their relatives about the illness *To provide insight into the illness *To promote relapse prevention *Engaging in crisis management and suicide prevention.

Basic Components of Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation usually includes certain basic components of information, which are to be imparted to patients and their family members regarding a particular mental disorder. The modules may be modified to suit the needs of the patients, family members, clinicians, or vary according to a particular disorder. Thus, the number and timing of the sessions may vary along with alterations in the overall content. However, it is desirable to cover the essential components, as shown in [Table 2].{Table 2}

Various Types of Psychoeducation

According to the target population, psychoeducation can be individual, family, group, or community based.

According to the predominant focus of psychoeducation, it can be compliance/adherence focused, illness focused, treatment focused, and rehabilitation focused.

Active psychoeducation involves the active involvement of the therapist with the patient/family during the process, leading to interaction and clarification. In passive psychoeducation, materials are provided to patients/family members in the form of pamphlets, audio/video material that they are supposed to read and assimilate on their own. In a busy clinic with limited available time, a clinician may take resort to passive psychoeducation by distributing leaflets or educative materials about the illness written in a simple language, which the patient and guardians can easily understand and assimilate.

Group Psychoeducation

This usually comprises patients having similar kinds of illness. Thus, groups may consist of patients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse, etc. It is not desirable to form a group with members having different kinds of illness. Groups usually have 4-12 members, with the optimum number being 8. The number of sessions usually varies from 5 to 24, with the optimum number of sessions being determined by research and practice. Often, the availability of resources in terms of available time and workforce may lead to modifications in the number of sessions, though the broad areas to be covered for each disorder remain the same. The sessions usually last 40-60 min and are mostly held at weekly intervals. The optimal time and frequency of sessions help in the better assimilation of the information, which has been shared and discussed. …

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