The role of family work in early psychosis

Schizophr Res. 2005 Nov 1;79(1):77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2005.01.013.


In keeping with the current clinical and research focus on early intervention and the rapid increase worldwide of programs for those experiencing a first episode of psychosis, the development of services for families has to be an integral part of any comprehensive program. Families can and do play a major role in the recovery from a first episode of psychosis. However, without support from and an alliance with professionals, they may find it difficult to see their way through the maze of emotions and challenges that inevitably accompany the first episode. This paper will briefly review the literature describing the impact of a first episode of psychosis on families. Secondly, to support the need for family work, we report on 2-year effectiveness study data that demonstrates that over time families show improvement in their psychological well-being and their experience of caregiving. To design an optimal family program within a first episode service we need to be sensitive to the phase and stage of the illness and have outcomes measured against the goals articulated for first episode family programs. Thus, thirdly we will describe a recovery model that has its origins in the Calgary First Episode Program and has since been expanded for use in the First Episode Psychosis Program in Toronto, Canada.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cost of Illness
  • Family / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenic Psychology