Researchers from King’s have contributed to new guidelines that will help psychologists and medical professionals to deliver more widespread training in ‘Family Interventions in Psychosis’.
The guidelines, which have been published by the British Psychological Society, have been co-produced by psychologists, other mental health professionals, service users and families with lived experience of caring for someone with psychosis. They have been designed to help more families deliver vital support to a loved one ahead of or during a psychotic episode.
‘Family Intervention in Psychosis’ is an umbrella term used to describe a range of different techniques and therapies that family members can employ the moment a loved one’s symptoms begin to become too much. Research has shown that these interventions are an effective means of reducing relapse and re-hospitalisation in people with psychosis, as well as improving carer wellbeing.
“Psychotic episodes can be an extremely distressing experience, and many people undergoing an episode will look to their family for help. Without the right training and support, this can be very difficult for carers.”– Dr Steven Livingstone, co-editor of the new guidelines from King’s IoPPN
While NICE guidelines recommend that Family Intervention is offered to all families, there remains a significant discrepancy between the guidelines and what is offered. Various studies have shown that there is a lack of planning in some services to provide the necessary support, while in other areas there is discussion as to what these interventions should look like.
One of the key recommendations from these new guidelines is that services should place a greater emphasis on involving family members in the treatment of psychosis, rather than working with people in isolation.
Dr Livingstone of King's IoPPN said, “From the evidence that we’ve seen, there are significantly better outcomes for service users that have input from their family. Trying to work solely with the individual without incorporating the people around them only places greater pressure on everyone involved.
“With the release of these guidelines, we hope to provide a toolkit by which professionals are able to easily implement the best possible interventions, ensuring that best practice is followed throughout the country. We are grateful to all the service users, family members and expert professionals who have contributed.”
A family member who contributed to the guidelines said, “As a carer who has benefitted from family interventions, I am very pleased to support these guidelines. They are a very welcome approach and from a carer’s perspective, a significant offer of support to families. The adoption of this document represents for me, increased confidence that families will be able to get information about services, ‘be heard’ and be able to take part in developing ‘solutions’ for themselves and their families.”
The British Psychological Society is due to host a webinar discussing the new guidelines in September. You can sign up to it here.
Family interventions in psychosis: Guidelines for psychologists and practitioners supporting families and social networks is available on the British Psychological Society website.
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