Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation involves informing a person who has a mental illness about the details of their condition. This process can also include the family of the person with the illness.

This technique often plays a role in a number of psychotherapy treatments used in the management of bipolar disorder. 

Overall, psychoeducation aims at increasing awareness of a condition and improving people's ability to cope with it, both as individuals and within social groupings like families.

How Psychoeducation Fits In

The management of bipolar disorder usually involves a collective approach with medication and psychotherapy at its core.

Psychoeducation helps a person with bipolar and his or her loved ones know what they are up against, including how to recognize the onset of an episode and how to deal with episodes and other complications in an effective and healthy way.

How Pyschoeducation Works

During psychoeducation, a person learns about his or her bipolar disorder, what causes it, and why certain treatments are used. It gives the person—and possibly his or her loved ones—a deeper understanding of bipolar disorder and how it can affect his or her life.

The technique is often a part of larger psychotherapy approaches like cognitive-behavioral or the several types of group therapy. This can involve one-on-one sessions between a person with bipolar disorder and the therapist, or in a group setting with relatives, or people with similar issues. These group sessions are also often guided by a mental health professional.

Studies have shown that group psychoeducation can be effective in preventing further episodes of extreme behavior. 

Who Can Take It

Psychoeducation usually involves the person with the disorder at issue and his or her loved ones, who are often an integral part of the person's support group.

Side Effects

Psychotherapies like psychoeducation, do not normally pose a direct danger to participants, but that does not mean the experience might not include some discomfort. Topics brought up in a session can be uncomfortable, awkward or even painful for those involved. Participants must be prepared to discuss many issues openly and candidly with, at the very least, a therapist, and possibly a number of people.

Availability

Psychotherapies are usually available through a number of outlets, including hospitals, private practices and employee benefit packages.

Highlights

Psychoeducation plays a role in a number of different types of psychotherapy.

It entails providing details about a mental illness like bipolar disorder to the person who has it and often to their loved ones, the goal being to improve their understanding of the condition and better their ability to deal with it.

What The Expert Says

“It is probably more appropriate to think of this strategy as a psychotherapy that really helps patients identify prodromal symptoms,” said Dr. Soroya Bacchus, a psychiatrist who practices in California. “For example, 'This is what you looked like when you were sick.'”

Dr. Bacchus said psychoeducation also looks at treatment compliance and mental hygiene.