Effectiveness of Family Psychoeducation Introduction
Family psychoeducation (FPE) is education that is directed toward empowering clients and their families and providing them with coping tools to improve their adaptive functioning. According to Falloon, participation in FPE programs is associated with lower rates of relapse for individuals with addiction and mental illness (as cited in Lauriello & Pallani, 2012). Several systematic reviews of FPE have been undertaken. The aim of this paper is to summarize a meta-analysis on FPE conducted by Lyman and associates. The paper will focus on the effectiveness of the educational approach in treating patients with schizophrenia and supporting their families.
FPE emerged more than 30 years ago, when research into schizophrenia challenged the effectiveness of traditional approaches to the treatment of mental illness (Lyman et al., 2014). It has been shown that families of patients with schizophrenia require adaptive strategies for reducing their emotional reactivity to the illness. A study by Lehman and Steinwachs shows that one-year relapse rates can be markedly reduced by a combination of FPE and pharmacotherapy (as cited in Lyman et al., 2014). The findings of the study are consistent with the position supported by Lucksted, McFarlance, Downing, Dixon, and Adams (2012), who write that the family’s burden can be substantially reduced by intervention and pharmacotherapy. In the same vein, a review of eleven relevant studies by McFarlane and associates argues that the effect of FPE is stronger when it is combined with medication (as cited in Lyman et al.). The scholars also maintain that intervention is more effective in improving patients’ well-being than medication alone (as cited in Lyman et al.).
Murray-Swank and Dixon highlight the effectiveness of FPE in reducing relapse rates as well as the intensity of clinical symptoms (as cited in Lyman et al.). A broader perspective is adopted by Dixon and associates who examine the influence of FPE on clinical symptoms, functional status, medication adherence, relapse rates, hospitalization, and disruptive behavior. The scholars argue that intervention provides positive outcomes, although the scope of its influence depends on both program goals and a patient’s phase of illness (as cited in Lyman et al.). Dixon and associates’ work on FPE is complemented by Kreyenbuhl and associates’ study which shows that the effectiveness of intervention should be assessed along the lines of “illness education, crisis intervention, emotional support, and training in how to cope with illness symptoms and related problems” (as cited in Lyman et al., p. 422).
In contrast to the previously mentioned scholars, Justo and associates maintain that it is impossible to conduct a meta-analysis with a meaningful degree of validity due to inconsistency in outcome measures across studies (as cited in Lyman et al.). Lincoln and associates take issue with the contention that FPE improves medication adherence, symptoms, and adaptive functioning (as cited in Lyman et al.). Despite this, overall the studies reviewed in the meta-analysis consider FPE to be an effective intervention model that should be utilized by mental health professionals.
This paper has summarized the meta-analysis on the effectiveness of FPE in managing schizophrenia. The studies included in the analysis show that the intervention can substantially benefit patients’ outcomes, improve the adaptive functioning of their families, increase medication adherence rates, and reduce disruptive behavior and relapse rates. Some of the studies point to the fact that the effectiveness of FPE can be markedly increased by pharmacotherapy.
Lauriello, J., & Pallani, S. (2012). Clinical manual for treatment of schizophrenia. New York, NY: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Lucksted, A., McFarlance, W., Downing, D., Dixon, D., & Adams, C. (2012). Recent developments in family psychoeducation as an evidence-based practice. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 38(1), 101-121.
Lyman, R., Braude, L., George, P., Dougherty, R., Daniels, A., Ghose., & Delphin-Rittmon, M. (2014). Consumer and family psychoeducation: Assessing the evidence. Psychiatric Services, 65(4), 416-428.