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A comprehensive examination of psycho educational multifamily group therapy

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  1. Introduction
  2. History and theory
    1. Hogarty's determination of the most significant causes of relapse
    2. His approach to schizophrenia
    3. His first trials with 100 participants
    4. The final results
    5. The differences between the McFarlane study and the Leff study
    6. The most recent research
  3. Clinical overview
    1. Session 1: Understanding mood symptoms/syndromes
    2. Session 2: Treatment and medications
    3. Session 3: Treatment: of individual and family issues
    4. Session 4: Communication skills
    5. Session 5: Problem solving
    6. Session 6: General family issues, review
  4. Clinical practice
    1. Psycho educational multifamily groups
    2. The main goal of the first phase
    3. The begining of the group
    4. The second phase
  5. Research and applicability
    1. The basis of all of Miklowitz's treatments
    2. The limitations of his research
    3. The pilot study completed by Fristad
    4. The highlights of the statistical analyses
  6. Limitations and comparative discussion
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

While the field of psychology has come a long way from locking the door and throwing away the key on people who carry a mental illness diagnosis, there is still a long way to go. Regardless of the research that has been done attempting to normalize these problems as medical diseases many people still cannot shake the notion that all mentally ill individuals are dangerous and unpredictable. Psycho educational Multifamily Group Therapy is a model of treatment that focuses on arming family members with facts to replace commonly accepted myths regarding mental illness and fostering supportive environments to normalize the experience of families with a member carrying a mental illness diagnosis.

For the purpose of application throughout this paper, the following paragraph is a basic outline of a case involving a family struggling with the diagnosis of one of its members with a mental illness.

[...] They would all gain knowledge and support from a multifamily group therapy experience that would allow them to view Joe as a person with a disease rather than, as a disease that has overtaken Joe. Additionally the research conducted with bipolar children that indicated that parental discord is detrimental to the overall ability of the family to cope with the disease. It is not a far leap to assume that similar results would be yielded if the study were focused on children with schizophrenia and thus Joe's parents resolving their issues for real rather than hiding them for Joe's benefit would increase the resiliency of the entire family. [...]

[...] Hogarty and McFarlane would advocate for psycho educational multifamily therapy from the perspective that Hogarty originally intended to educate all of the members of the system about what exactly the diagnosis means and what they can expect. An initial session would involve creating a therapeutic alliance and engaging the family in the program. Emphasis would be placed on getting comfortable with the other families involved and developing questions to be answered and brainstorming about the obstacles that present themselves on a daily basis surrounding the diagnosis. [...]

[...] Conclusion The Psycho educational Multifamily Group Therapy model is not perfect. As the Limitations and Comparisons section noted, not all families would be comfortable in this type of group therapy to discuss their family's struggles. Those who do, however, have made remarkable progress in terms of functioning and coping with the presence of mental illness in the family. Joe's life will not be easy as he works to cope effectively with his diagnosis but it will be made easier if his family participates in therapy to become better educated about the disease and what it means for the family overall. [...]

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