From cognitive information to shared meaning: healing principles in prevention intervention

Psychiatry. Summer 1998;61(2):112-29. doi: 10.1080/00332747.1998.11024822.


Families with parental affective disorder participated in a large-scale longitudinal study which involved participation in a standardized, short-term, psychoeducational preventive intervention. These families were followed for at least 3 years. An analysis of clinical material from the first 12 families to complete the intervention identified specific healing principles that contributed to positive changes in behavior and attitude. The healing elements of the intervention included demystification of the illness, modulation of shame and guilt, increase in the capacity for perspective taking, and development of a hopeful perspective and belief in one's own competence. Therapeutic effectiveness evolved in a process that linked cognitive information and presented depression as an illness that could be understood with the acknowledgement of family members' individual and collective experience. In this way, families developed a shared understanding of the illness that was useful over time. This article discusses the ways in which the healing principles promoted changes in family members' behavior and attitude, which, in turn, enhanced resiliency in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Family Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Healing*
  • Personality Development
  • Treatment Outcome