Supportive or Rehabilitative Therapies
These programs can help people with drug dependency problems, poor social skills, and limited qualifications for obtaining employment or volunteer positions in the community. Rehabilitation therapies are nonmedical programs designed to help people with schizophrenia live independent, productive, rewarding lives outside of mental hospitals.
Rehabilitation offers opportunities to improve skills that are needed in school, during social interactions, and at work. These programs can include advice in areas such as use of public transportation, job training, money management skills, motivation, and establishing and maintaining social relationships. Their aim is to help the patient live a more normal and independent life.
A type of beefed-up outpatient service called long-term assisted outpatient treatment does a better job improving the outcome for people with severe mental illness compared to standard outpatient care. It includes routine outpatient services and at least three outpatient visits per month. In short, better outcome seems to be correlated with more follow-up treatment.
This therapy trains people to improve their social skills. Relatives of people with schizophrenia also benefit from psychosocial programs by increasing their social contacts. Group services include education and/or treatment groups, peer support/activity groups, family psychoeducation groups, and family support groups.
Psychoeducation teaches consumers and their close relatives about schizophrenia. It presents accurate facts about a very severe mental illness without discouraging hope. Well-conducted psycho-education programs are able to provide useful information about the nature of the disease and its characteristics. This information should help dispel some of the worry and confusion that accompanies a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Some Benefits of Psychoeducation for Patients
Better personal functioning skills for patients
Improved social relationships
Increased interest in finding a job
More social interests
Increased ability to handle social conflicts
Adapted from “Patient functioning and family burden in a controlled real-world trial of family psychoeducation for schizophrenia,” L. Magliano, et. al. Published in Psychiatric Services, December 2006.
The therapist can explore the patient's ideas about what is happening to him and try to reconcile these explanations with what modern science has learned. Psychoeducation can also demonstrate how and to what degree the disorder can be treated. Finally, it should take into account the need for every consumer to maintain a good sense of self-esteem.
Occupational training teaches people how to be more independent in daily life. This training is essential if someone wants to live independently but lacks domestic skills needed for managing money, shopping, cooking, cleaning, dressing, and tending to personal hygiene. Other programs can help a person acquire skills that will enable him to take a full-time, part-time, or volunteer job, whichever one the person's abilities and interests qualify him for.
Don't neglect therapy just because someone's hallucinations or delusions are no longer overwhelming her. Therapy can aid patients, whether they are in a hospital or receiving outpatient care. The goal for the family and for therapists is to guide, encourage, and support a patient's efforts to recover as many living skills and gain as much insight into her own condition as possible.
Another important factor in a patient's life is his physical well-being. Physical health, as well as mental health, contributes to quality of life. If possible, efforts to maintain or improve a person's physical well-being should be incorporated into his therapy program.