Psychoeducation is a practical approach to helping clients and family members understand and cope with addictions and psychological disorders. Psychoeducation was originally conceived by C.M. Anderson in 1980 as a combination of briefing clients and family members about mental illness and three training elements: problem-solving, communication and assertiveness. Defined as educational information relating to an illness provided by an expert, psychoeducation can also be utilized to address the stress and fear accompanying the initial diagnosis. The four primary elements of psychoeducation are transfer of information, medication and treatment support, self-help training/support and a safe place to vent frustrations. The goals are a significant improvement in functional outcomes and quality of life for the client and reduced family stress.

How Psychoeducation Helps

Group or family psychoeducation offers a supportive setting in which clients and family members or peers learn about the illness together. This approach is especially helpful at the onset of treatment when clients are struggling with symptoms and emotions. Psychoeducation provides family members with the necessary tools to positively support loved ones. Increasing evidence indicates psychoeducation is an effective complement to therapy, supporting stabilization and symptom reduction in mental health disorders.

Benefits of Psychoeducation

The benefits of structured psychoeducational programs include higher client satisfaction, reduced disability and increased family support. Studies show psychoeducation results in fewer hospitalizations in individuals with mental illness. Psychoeducation also helps reduce the guilt and blame often experienced by family members of clients with psychiatric disorders. Benefits include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Greater empathy
  • Healthier client-family relationships
  • Reduced caregiver burden
  • Enhanced feelings of empowerment
  • Reduced feelings of isolation
  • Improved communication skills
  • Improved problem-solving skills