THIS POST INCLUDES:
1. What is psychoeducation
2. Goals of psychoeducation
3. Benefits of psychoeducation
4. Types of psychoeducation
5. Examples of psychoeducation
6. Download FREE Pscyhoeducation Template
WHAT IS PSYCHOEDUCATION
Psychoeducation encompasses a wide range of activities that educate your client about their psychological experiences and the avenues of therapeutic treatment available to them.
For example, if you have a client who is experiencing anxiety you could include psychoeducation about anxiety including symptoms, causes, triggers, and common experiences. Furthermore, as an art therapist, you can also educate your client on the use and benefit of art therapy in their treatment.
In this situation, you can help your client learn more about their experience of anxiety so they can understand their emotional experiences are common within the context of anxiety. By educating your client about art therapy you are also providing your client with the guidelines of treatment so they can make informed consent about treatment and it’s outcomes. Through psychoeducation your client can alleviate any potential fears about their behaviour and thoughts being “abnormal”.
At it’s most basic form, psychoeducation can be described as the provision of background information to the current experiences of your client.
Psychoeducation is a humanistic approach to including your client in the development and treatment of their own psychological experiences. Psychoeducation increases self-awareness and self-efficacy by providing clients with the tools to set goals for their treatment and overcome challenges as they progress through therapy.
When clients feel at their most vulnerable through their emotional experience, psychoeducation can help provide a sense of control through knowledge and understanding. This provides the client with a stronger sense of control over their condition through a more thorough degree of understanding what they are experiencing.
Most of us can think back to a medical symptom we may have experienced such as a cough, rash, or feeling of pain. When we go to the doctor, we are often provided with a diagnosis, treatment plan and general education about the condition that we have. The diagnosis and treatment plan provides a sense of comfort that we have a way forward of resolving our health concerns. Additionally, when the doctor provides us with general information about the condition we learn about common symptoms, expected time for recovery and how to look out for potential setbacks. This knowledge provides us with a sense of security and control by providing a framework of understanding about our medical condition.
This same concept applies to mental health. The more security and sense of control that a client can obtain about their experience, the more positive the client will feel about their recovery going forward.
When a client gains more understanding about their condition and treatment, they often are more willing to participate in setting goals and self-managing their behaviour, emotions, and thoughts based on the psychoeducation they have received.
Psychoeducation has become such an important part of the therapeutic process that it is now considered an integral part of client treatment as the client learns to develop coping skills and strategies for mental health wellbeing.
GOALS OF PSYCHOEDUCATION
The most important goals of providing psychoeducation include:
- Identifying symptoms of the condition/disorder
- Identifying triggers to behaviours and thoughts
- Defining the diagnosis
- Understanding factors that contribute to the cause of the condition such as biological, learning, and social aspects
- Defining the treatment plan
- Defining the prognosis
- Understanding the terminology used with the condition/disorder
- Understanding the stigma attached to the condition/disorder
- Understanding how to manage stress
- Understanding the impact on family
- Understanding the impact on school or work
- Understanding how the condition/disorder can affect self-esteem
- Understanding how to access financial, legal and social support for both the client and family/friends
The goals of psychoeducation are structured around a framework that is focused on how to understand, take action, and manage future responses to stressful life experiences.
BENEFITS OF PSYCHOEDUCATION
Pscyhoeducation is a powerful therapeutic tool as it focuses on providing the client with agency for improving their own wellbeing including health, relationships, and general mental health.
By helping a client to acquire knowledge about their condition, they can develop a better understanding of how to deal with future problems and stressful situations. Clients are able to utilise their knowledge to face challenges by using problem-solving and coping skills to improve their daily functioning.
Psychoeducation provides a number of benefits including:
- Alleviating potential fears about the psychological condition
- includes your client in their own treatment pathway
- increases self-awareness
- increases self-efficacy
- Provides coping tools to overcome obstacles
- Aids in setting goals
- Increases knowledge
- Develops insight into experiences
- Increased participation from the client in recovery/treatment
TYPES OF PSYCHOEDUCATION
Pscyhoeducation can be provided in a number of different formats depending on the psychological condition and the developmental stage of the client.
Pscyhoeducation is primarily provided to individual or group clients, however, it can also extend to family, friends, caregivers, teachers and other people that are involved in the client’s life.
Extending psychoeducation to others within the client’s social circle can help build a better understanding of the client’s experiences. Psychoeducation can provide education to others about the specific condition the client is experiencing as well as an understanding of how the client may interact in interpersonal relationships. This information can help friends and family of the client understand not all responses by the client are personally directed towards them.
In the case of children who have ADHD, psychoeducation can help parents understand their child’s behaviour can often be a coping mechanism and not a sign of defiance to antagonise the parent.
Psychoeducation can help provide family and friends with the opportunity to discuss common issues and then brainstorm about methods to deal with potential challenges between the client and their loved ones.
Psychoeducation can help people within the client’s social circle gain a better understanding of their situation and ultimately develop their own strategies to deal with confronting situations in the future.
Psychoeducation can be provided using a variety of delivery methods including:
- Information sheets
- Worksheets (therapy homework)
- Online resources – blogs, YouTube, webinars, podcasts
- Presentations in person
It’s important to remember that psychoeducation is not simply a process of providing informational sessions or resources. As therapists, we do not want to overload clients with copious amounts of terminology heavy reading material that will remain unread and not understood. Instead, psychoeduction is an important part of the treatment process for clients to help keep them engaged and developing an understanding of their condition and how to improve their therapeutic outcomes.
This means delivery of psychoeducation can be incorporated into therapy activities such as art therapy exercises. Other techniques may include role playing and visualisation where the client can use their newly acquired knowledge in scenarios where challenges and obstacles can be problem-solved.
EXAMPLES OF PSYCHOEDUCATION
To learn more about the use and effectiveness of psychoeducation, below are two articles that show how psychoeducation can be used as a therapeutic intervention:
FREE DOWNLOAD: Psychoeducation Template
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Use the template to create your own psychoeducation worksheet to give to client’s, families, and caregivers. Print the template out and use the sections to guide you through the stages of creating your own psychoeducation handout.
Download the FREE Psychoeducation Template.
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