Psychoeducation refers to the education offered to individuals with a mental health condition and their families to help empower them and deal with their condition in an optimal way. Frequently psychoeducational training involves individuals with schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, psychotic illnesses, eating disorders, and personality disorders, as well as patient training courses in the context of the treatment of physical illnesses. Family members are also included. A goal is for the consumer to understand and be better able to deal with the presented illness. Also, the patient’s own capabilities, resources and coping skills are strengthened and used to contribute to their own health and wellbeing on a long-term basis.
Since it is often difficult for the patient and their family members to accept the patient’s diagnosis, psychoeducation also has the function of contributing to the destigmatization of psychological disturbances and to diminish barriers to treatment. Through an improved view of the causes and the effects of the illness, psychoeducation frequently broadens the patient’s view of their illness and this increased understanding can positively affect the patient. The relapse risk is in this way lowered; patients and family members, who are more well-informed about the disease, feel less helpless. Important elements in psychoeducation are:
Information transfer (symptomatology of the disturbance, causes, treatment concepts, etc.)
Emotional discharge (understanding to promote, exchange of experiences with others concerning, contacts, etc.)
Support of a medication or psychotherapeutic treatment, as cooperation is promoted between the mental health professional and patient (compliance, adherence).
Assistance to self-help (e.g. training, as crisis situations are promptly recognized and what steps should be taken to be able to help the patient).