Psychoeducational Model theory is unique in that it is a collaboration of systems theory’s that help support the family unit. This theory includes elements that assist clients who have severe mental issues as well as clients who have family functioning problems. With the enlistment of doctors and other professionals clients are given the skills and tools they need to help themselves. Clients who help themselves are being productive in their own theraptic process. Integrating Christian doctrine into counseling can be difficult.
Maintaining the balance of the psychological aspect and teaching Christians based theories are necessary in today’s counseling profession. Integrating these factors while considering the Psychoeducational theory is a positive and effective method for counseling in counseling profession. Family Counseling Approach Psychoeducational therapy is very unique in that it uses a combination of systems theories to create this model of therapy. The two key theories that embody the Psychoeducational theory are educational psychology and cognitive behavior therapy.
These two theories are important for the successful treatment of clients/patients with severe mental disorders. The collaboration of the three systems theories help create the Psychoeducational therapy needed to assist families reduce stress. By educating them with survival skills that will help them deal with family members who are mentally ill and families who have troubled issues within the family system (Goldenberg, Goldenberg, 2008). The Psychoeducational therapy uses the assistance of health care professionals and educators as well as many others to assist clients/patients in the healing process.
Everyone is necessary for the successful treatment of clients with severe mental health issues. Families need to be educated and instructed on how to keep their mental health intact while they are helping their family members with severe problems. With the collaboration of all involved the clients and family members will be successful in their overall goal which is to strengthen the family system. The History The history of the Psychoeducational group as mentioned previously is a collaboration of several different system theories which include: cognitive and educational psychology.
However, the true beginning started with John E. Donley who wrote an article entitled “Psychotherapy and re-education” which was published in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology back in 1911. He wrote this article on the premise that psychotherapy was a therapy that helps treat emotional and behavioral problems. Another key person that introduced information on this theory was Sigmund Freud. His writings discussed the importance of childhood experiences on the psychological development of children. He provided some of the fundamental support for the Psychoeducational theory, without realizing it.
He recognized that early in the developmental stages of a child, mental issues can affect them later on in life and sometimes for the rest of their lives. Many years later psychotherapy evolved into Psychoeducational theory which it is called today (McIntyre, 2006). One of many pioneers of this new evolution is C. W. Anderson. He conducted research on the subject of mental illness and more specially schizophrenia. His research focused on educating the family members of clients with severe mental illnesses and teaching them the symptoms as well as the process of the illness (Fiscella, 2002).
Families and Mental Disorders When family members take on the task of caring for family members with mental illnesses, they do not realize that this can be a very difficult task. If the family member has schizophrenia or bipolarism this can be an even more daunting task. Why? Because schizophrenia is defined as “a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally” (Drapalski, Leith & Dixon, 2009). Bipolar is defined as manic-depressive disorder which can cause mood swings that vary from feeling very high to very low (Drapalski et al, 2009).
Many patients with these two particular illnesses rely on family members for emotional support, financial support and love and understanding of their illness (Caqueo-Urizar & Gutierrez-Maldonado, 2006). Patients who rely on their family for support most likely can not get support from anyone else. Due to the healthcare reform and managed care concerns many clients with mental issues do not have community resources they can rely on. Facilities are closing due to the economic hardships of communities. Lack of resources for these patients is in a way putting the responsibility of caring for them on family members and relatives.
This can in many instances cause stress on the family unit as a whole. The caregiver of the mentally ill person has to change their living habits and life styles to accommodate the mentally ill family member. Not only that, depending on the member involved care and concern has to be placed on minor children in the home or possibly an elder family member who may be present in the home. Patients with schizophrenia and bipolar have to make sure they take their medication on a daily basis. Failure to due so can cause dyer consequences for everyone involved.
The responsibility falls on the family member of the mentally ill patient to ensure they are complying with the doctor’s instructions in regards to medication. Mentioned in the journal article written by Caqueo-Urizar and Gutierrez-Maldonado (2006), they use a term called “Caregiver burden” (Caqueo-Urizar, Gutierrez-Maldonado, 2006). This term is defined as “a psychological state that ensues from the combination of the physical work, emotional and social pressure, like the economic restriction that arise of taking care of the patients” (Caqueo – Urizar, Gutierrez-Maldonado, 2006).
When family members take on the responsibility of caring for their mentally ill family members the pressures and stress can significantly cause health issues and mental issues as well. Medical Family Therapy The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), feel that there are alternative medical solutions for the treatment of people with severe mental illnesses as well as families with difficult relationship problems. Some of the suggested treatment alternatives are: mind-body interventions, prayer, mental healing, homeopathic medicines, as well as many others (Berkley, Straus, 2002).
Some of these treatment alternatives can be used in correlation with medication. Each patient is different and when dealing with patients not one cure fits all. With the collaboration of family members and other professionals a treatment goal can be achieved. Psychoeducational Model therapies main purpose is to educate families as to how they can maximize their effectiveness when dealing with their mentally ill or emotionally ill family members or worsening family relationships.
With the collaboration of health care professionals and others, families can learn new ways of successful outcomes in their family relationships (Goldenberg, Goldenberg, 2008). Education is the key to this successful treatment plan. Issues that have come about in recent years with health insurance companies and manage care companies have impacted the medical profession. Forcing medical practitioners and other health care professionals to find alternative treatment plans for patients who cannot afford to go to a psychiatrist or other psychiatric facilities on a regular bases.
Health insurance companies can delay processing claims, deny claims due to preexisting conditions or deny services because of price (Campbell, McDaniel, 2000). The Collaborative Family Healthcare Association (CFHA) is another association that involves a vast array of medical professionals such as: doctors, nurses, social workers, family therapist, psychologist and other health professionals (Bloch, Doherty, 2001). This group of medical professional’s main goal is to study, learn and create new alternative ways of helping patients.
By helping the patients to help themselves, teaching them productive ways of dealing with depression and other family struggles that may hinder their healthy mental health. Other concerns of this association is the increasing inapplicability of the standard on mental health issues in regards to behavioral healthcare and the work of the family systems therapist (Bloch, Doherty, 2001). In 1983, The Journal of Family Systems Medicine was created for the purpose of joining new healthcare professionals that wanted to create a systems view of healthcare.
The family unit is integrated into the treatment plan because the family is a very important part of the therapeutic process (May, Gazada, Powell, Hauser, 1985). Having family’s involvement with treatment gives clients/patients a sense of security and safeness knowing their family is around them. Not only having the collaboration among family members to healthcare professionals is important, it is also important to have collaborations among health professionals themselves. This collaboration is very important because health professionals and other professionals are colleagues that can assist each other in the referral process.
One person may know of a program that could help the client and their family were as another may not. Psychoeducational therapy has in recent years become the treatment of selection for most clients/patients and family members with severe mental issues as well as in family situations that are dysfunctional (Bertrando, 2006). Most families want to be involved in the treatment and therapeutic alliance when dealing with their mental health. Clients/patients who are schizophrenic are unable to do this because of their warp sense of reality.
However, families who are having dysfunctional stressful issues in their families can take part in their treatment. When a person or family takes part in their own treatment it gives them a sense of worth and they are doing something to help themselves instead of just taking medication that a doctor proscribed. Medication does help but in order to function after the medication practical working skills have to be learned. These practical skills include: group therapy session, individual counseling, workshops that enhance positive thinking skills and changing negative thoughts in to positive ones.
Learning to forgive and letting negative none productive feelings go. Having a client/patient using a higher power for strength and guidance can be all the support they need in order to get through a negative situation they may be going through. Short-Term Educational Programs The Psychoeducational approach as mentioned previously is not only limited to clients/patients with severe mental disorders but these system therapies are also extended to couples or families who need therapy.
When using this therapy for the family dynamics without a mentally ill person most clients are seeking skills that will enhance their relationships with family members in a positive way by assisting them with communication skills, teaching couples how to argue constructively without being negative or abusive. The therapist and the family collaborate to find ways of managing their current situations in a productive way. The therapist helps the family create new ideas and ways to discuss issues as a family without talking at one another. The programs offered to families are educational based.
In many other counseling theories the counselor or therapist directs the counseling session in the direction as to where they would like the clients to go. In this type of therapy collaborating with the family is the key to success. Using family Psychoeducation programs helps families to unite and develop skills that can be learned long after the counseling sessions have ended. This improves communication skills as well as problem solving skills, allowing the family to reduce expressed emotions they may be having (Drapalski et al, 2009).
Family Psychoeducational counseling programs sometimes offer group counseling sessions to several families at once. The purpose of this type of therapy is to bring the group together so that they can receive information as a group and exchange information among each other that they may know. Helping one another cope with stressful issues as a group is helpful in that it lets other families know they are not alone in the struggles they face as a family (Pirkis, Burgess, Hardy, Harris, Slade, Johnston, 2010)..
The key thing about this theory that was unknown to me was knowing how important it is for a family to be involved in their counseling. By being involved, the family is helping take control of their own lives instead of the problem. People tend to retain information longer if they are participating and making decisions that will benefit and help them. Collaborating with mental health professionals and others allows clients to be productive in their healing process. Learning the skills and techniques to strengthing family relationships is also a learning experience that was new to me.
My perception of therapy was having the therapist direct the sessions and tell the client what was going to happen and what they have to change without discussing it with the client. Integration I am a Christian however; I cannot force my beliefs on any one that I may counsel. The majority of counselors, therapists and other mental health professionals are not Christians. It is for this reason that their techniques and counseling styles would be different from someone who is a Christian. I believe more mental health professionals should be more ducated on the issues of spirituality. If they were, this would open a door to clients who have never thought about spirituality or faith. The integration of faith and spirituality in counseling is very important in my opinion. Because when you use the two in collaboration together the counselor can use the counseling session as a teaching session as well, teaching the client about the Word of God and how great God is. Not with a dogmatic approach or to make the client feel inferior, but to teach true love that God has for us.
The bible teaches that “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17, NIV). This bible verse speaks to me in regards to integration as far as clients who come for therapy are seeking love and support. God offers this to all who believe in Him and clients need a guide to help them find that love. The guide is Jesus. The bible teaches us that Jesus is “the way and truth and life.
No one comes to the Father except through me (Jesus) (John 14:6, NIV, 1986). My beliefs are for me to be an effective and productive counselor. I am to be a true example to the clients I will service. It is my duty as a Christian woman to be kind, considerate, forgiving, loving, understanding, and prayerful toward my clients. Not only to the clients I may assist but toward everyone. Counseling to me is a very serious profession and one not to be entered in lightly. I feel counselors hold clients mental stability in their hands.
One thing a counselor can say or do can damage a person for the rest of their lives. That’s why we as counselors should be “slow to speak and quick to listen” (James 1:19, NIV, 1986). This verse I will hold dear to me and use whenever I encounter anyone that I may counsel. Not only are counselor’s key figures in client’s lives but their families as well. A counselor’s influence is very important in the lives of a client. Counseling in general is complex in nature but Christian counseling makes counseling even more complex.
For example, the behavioral therapist may focus on the details of an issue verses a Christian counselor who will focus on the spiritual growth and mental health of the client (McMinn, 1996). We all are born into sin, God gave us the freedom of choice to decide to follow Him or not. It is our decision weather to follow Him or not. Deep down inside we all want to do good but on the other side we are sinners by nature and we can’t help ourselves. God sent His son Jesus to die for us so that we can be saved. As an aspiring Christian counselor I want to bring the Lord to my clients in a loving, kind, peaceful way.
I will strive to first and foremost show love, understanding, empathy, and being non-judgmental. According to McMinn (2006), which states that God created human beings with choice. We all have a choice to be loving and kind, toward each other as well as establishing meaningful relationships with Jesus and others. He expects us to exercise creative energy at our jobs and during recreational times so that we can reach the goals we aspire to obtain (p. 35). I personally believe this to be true but sometimes when you are taught negative derogatory things from birth it’s hard to love God and yourself.
That’s where the Christian counselor comes in to teach the client how much Jesus Christ loves them while trying to reeducate them in the ways of the Lord verses the ways of the world. Psychoeducation therapists can do this with the collaboration of others who are important when considering the client’s social health as well. It is important for the client to establish social norms within their relationships. The therapist can gain a lot of insight from studying the client’s behavior while discussing or thinking about interactions with their families, friends, coworkers, etc.
The therapist must also take into consideration how sociable the client has been. Most clients who have mental disorders will exhibit more introverted behavior. As mentioned previously, Psychoeducational therapists collaborate with families and others to help provide the care and support that clients/patients need. These social circles are particularly important in clients who may have a family history of mental illness. These patients are already predisposed to deal with stressors in ineffective ways that may create an environment conducive to mental disorders.
The cognitive theory supports this idea in that negative or automatic thoughts may be a learned behavior at a young age from family members alike. It is my intention to help clients focus on the seriousness of the people who are in their lives. The focus will begin with the nourishment of the social circle. It is necessary to have an inspiring, loving, and encouraging group of people in anyone’s life but especially, the lives of those who are facing bouts with depression. The bible teaches us, and I believe it is very effective, to set our minds on things above and not on the things of the earth (Colossians 3:2).
It is important to keep our mind in positive places so that we look at circumstances from a positive perspective. This is necessary in overcoming trials, tribulations, and/or adversities that many clients may be facing. I believe that training the mind to think positively will promote positive change and inspire others. I will strive to provide an atmosphere for my clients that will be conducive to positive thinking. Next to having an inspiring social circle, I believe it is also necessary to know what or who promotes peace in your life.
The bible challenges us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). The notion that the client’s mind is more powerful at peace than any other state is supported by the Psychoeducational theory in that the social life of the client is meant to promote peace of mind. The bible says that God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him. Everyone needs a place of peace where their mind should tarry. It is my hope that clients, who have not already done so, will establish Jesus Christ as that place. He is, after all, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).