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Family engagement in psychosis therapy may enhance patient outcomes: Research

by Pragati Singh

Family engagement in psychosis therapy enhances patient outcomes, according to new research from Boston Medical Center. Several studies have found that learning to use motivational interviewing communication methods can help caregivers reduce conflict and expressed emotion while also boosting treatment adherence.

The findings were reported in ScienceDirect. According to research, relatives who understand the nature of psychosis symptoms and remedies can help with treatment adherence by helping with responsibilities like arranging and driving to appointments, filling medications, and talking with doctors about worrying symptoms or behaviours.

The goal is not for the caregiver to become a therapist to the person with psychosis, but rather for them to learn and use motivational interviewing-based communication strategies to reduce expressed emotion and play a more effective role in connecting the person with psychosis to relevant clinical services.

“With the findings from this study, our hope is to understand how supportive home environments can improve patient outcomes across diagnoses,” said Emily R. Kline, MD, Director of Psychological Services in the Wellness and Recovery After Psychosis Program at Boston Medical Center and associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

The study is a pilot randomised controlled trial that looks at the impact of Motivational Interviewing for Loved Ones (MILO), a brief five-hour psychoeducational intervention for carers, on a group of family members of people with early-stage psychosis. Caregivers were randomly assigned to either immediate motivational interviewing for loved ones or a six-week waiting control condition using a randomised crossover design; all participants eventually got the intervention.

The findings of this study revealed that caregiver participants improved significantly in caregiver wellbeing, caregiver self-efficacy, family conflict, and expressive emotion. There was no change in caregiver-reported patient treatment adherence over time. MILO had a substantial effect on family conflict and expressed emotion, a modest effect on felt stress, and no effect on parental self-efficacy or treatment adherence as compared to the waitlist. Interventions that include and counsel family members, according to researchers, may enhance patient outcomes by fostering a less stressful and more supportive home environment.

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