Talking to Families about Mental Illness: What Clinicians Need to Know
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A clinician's guide to understanding and responding to the concerns of family members whose loved one suffers from mental illness.
Will he always need medication? How should I explain his illness to the children? What should I say to him to be supportive? How should I behave? A diagnosis of a mental illness can change a person forever—indeed, in some cases it can affect the rest of the life course. It can also have a deep and lasting impact on those close to them. Loving and caring, but often frustrated and at times depressed themselves, family members and caregivers have plenty of questions for the psychiatrists, primary care physicians, and other counselors or therapists who are caring for their mentally ill loved one.
Here, veteran clinician Igor Galynker equips mental health professionals with everything they need to know to speak with family members compassionately and effectively, conveying treatment information and answering their questions, while also relieving their anxieties. Drawing from years of his own clinical experience, he offers tools for communicating with families about psychiatric symptoms, medications, and alternative treatment options—along with the difficult topics of stigma, denial, and suicide. He covers the ins and outs of schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and personality disorders, and outlines the course of each illness, symptoms, and implications for the client’s future and relationships. Finally, he offers advice for managing stress, succeeding at school and work, building strong romantic relationships, and planning families. Clinical case examples throughout showcase Galynker’s narratives in practice, and prepare clinicians for families’ reactions, both good and bad. Whether you are a general practitioner or psychiatric specialist, or concerned loved one, Talking to Families About Mental Illness will enhance your ability to manage a family’s difficult questions and concerns, which can ultimately transform the way they handle the patient’s diagnosis. This book provides all the tools necessary to communicate clearly and effectively, and guide patients and their families on the path to healing.
- W. W. Norton & Company, November 2010
W. W. Norton & Company
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