Family Psychoeducation in Clinical High Risk and First-Episode Psychosis

A description of the theory behind and current status of treatment for psychotic disorders demonstrates that both family psychoeducation (FPE) and psychoeducational multifamily groups (PMFGs) have shown promising outcomes in treatment for early phases of this disorder.

The current standard for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorder treatment includes both psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions: FPE, supported employment, assertive community treatment, and medication.

FPE is an intervention to reduce social and psychological stresses on at-risk individuals; counteracting the stresses that lead to psychoses should help prevent initial episodes of psychosis. PMFG incorpoarates psychoeducation, as well as family behavior management and multifamily therapy.

The targets of FPE and PMFGs are expressed emotion (EE), the effects of stigma, communication deviance and attention dysfunction, social network variables and life events. Psychoeducation assumes that these stresses can be ameliorated by family and social network intervention.

Family intervention has positive outcomes in first-episode patients, and multifamily intervention is even more effective than single-family, especially for first-episode and high-relapse-risk cases. Optimal treatment is yet to be determined, but outreach to untreated or at-risk individuals, family and individual psychoeducation, case management, counseling and supported employment all comprise a holistic intervention.

The authors conclude that psychoeducational treatment meets families’ needs.