Synopses & Reviews
With current treatment philosophy favoring community care for those with major mental illnesses, professionals have been experimenting with a variety of techniques for providing help to the beleaguered families of the mentally ill, what has been lacking is a clear understanding of the family's own perception of and experience with mental illness. Families of the Mentally Ill is designed to help professionals become more sensitive to the family dilemma so that they can develop more soundly based techniques for working with them.
Perceiving the family as experiencing a profound tragedy in their lives and interpreting their behavior as adaptive responses to this tragedy, the editors have assembled specialists from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, education, nursing, and rehabilitation. In collaboration, they define a theoretical orientation of coping and adaption that can help professionals understand and respond to the ramifications of mental illness from a family perspective.
The volume examines the family experience both historically and cross-culturally in Part I. Calling for a paradigm shift, this section presents an examination of current family theories and finds that they all tend to be deficient in some ways, and offers a comprehensive explanation of the subjective experience and objective burdens of mental illness that has been lacking. Part II provides a thorough discussion of the application of the theory of coping and adaptation to promote understanding of families as they come to grips with mental illness in a relative, and Part III examines the mental health services that families perceive they need, covering models of family practice that are appropriate to adaptation theory as well as the relevant question of how practitioners are to be appropriately trained for this new role.
Opening up new issues for research, this volume will be an invaluable reference for psychiatrists, psychologists, educators, nurses, rehabilitation workers, and students in these fields whose work brings them into contact with the mentally ill and their families.
With current trends toward family care of individuals with major mental illness, it is now generally accepted that families need a firm knowledge base and a wide range of skills in order to cope with a mentally ill relative. Toward this end, educational programs are developing all over the country. However, little attention has been given to education as a discipline nor to the contributions that educational psychology can make to more effective instruction and skill development. A resource that will help professionals become more effective family educators , this is the first book to delineate the key elements for creating curricula in family education by combining what is known about mental illness with essential principles of education.
About the Author
Agnes B. Hatfield, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland. Founding member and third president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), she currently serves as Family Education Specialist at that organization. She has served as Director of the Maryland Family Education Program for the Maryland Department of Mental Hygiene since 1982. Author of FAMILY EDUCATION IN MENTAL ILLNESS and numerous articles and book chapters, she is co-editor with Harriet Lefley of FAMILIES OF THE MENTALLY ILL: COPING AND ADAPTATION.