The purpose of this article is to introduce family systems therapy and “family focused treatment” to clinicians working with patients who are diagnosed with bipolar illness. The characteristic traits of healthy family functioning are identified as a template for the clinician to work with the family toward management of bipolar illness. Nathan Ackerman's model of how families handle crises and Carter's and McGoldrick's work with family life cycles provide a guide to understanding family systems work. The focus is on the family system and not just the patient. The issues of bipolar illness are addressed in the family context. Based on the research of Goldstein and Miklowitz and others, treatment of bipolar illness is differentiated from other chronic mental illnesses. Family focused treatment is offered as a model to manage dynamics off bipolar illness. An essential component of therapy with the patient and the family is addressing grief. Interventions and treatment suggestions are offered.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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