For nontraditional families, including same-sex couples, single parents, and people raising their grandkids, the ways in which holidays like Father’s Day are celebrated continue to evolve. Jacqueline Hudak, PhD, clinical director of the Penn Center for Couples and Adult Families, explains how these family dynamics grow and change.
David Asch MD and Roy Rosin, MBA of The Center for Healthcare Innovation at Penn Medicine have published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine that supports the involvement of family and friends in improving health and health care outcomes.
At The Center for Couples and Adult Families, we are thrilled to share this vision: that the quality of one’s relationships matters and has important and measurable impact on health and well being.
Join us for the next CPSP
Engaging Family Supports
Learning Objectives – Participants will be better able to:
CME: You can earn 1.25 CME credits
When: Thursday, April 21, 2016
|Course Directors:||Wesley Sowers, MD
Robert Marin, MD
Ellen Berman, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, and Founder and Director of Training, Center for Couples and Adult Families, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
John Sargent, MD, Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Tufts Medical Center and Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
*Community Psychiatry Forum: Free online videoconference offered twice each month. Continuing Medical Education credits
The Center for Couples and Adult Families extends a warm welcome to Michelle Jackson, a seasoned Couple and Family therapist who joined our Clinical Faculty last month.
There are many reasons I’m thrilled to have Ms. Jackson aboard, not the least of which is our ability to serve more couples and families at CCAF. Her arrival is evidence of our growth; clearly the word is out that there is couple and family therapy available at Penn.
Ms. Jackson’s sensitivity to issues of diversity in clinical work is in concert with the CCAF mission, as well as our curriculum in Culture and the Family that takes place across all four years of residency training in psychiatry.
Ms. Jackson’s life trajectory informs her fluency with individuals who have chosen or invisible identities, or who are part of biracial/bicultural couples, and multi-racial families. Her work provides a context in which to normalize alternative developmental pathways and strengthen resilience in the absence of cultural validation.
Welcome to CCAF, Michelle!
I’m so happy to have you as part of our team, and know that couples and families will be enriched through their work with you. I look forward to a long collaboration together at CCAF.
To schedule a meeting with Ms. Jackson, please call Bryn Farrelly, 215-746-5900.
A landmark, government funded study finds that schizophrenic patients who received a combination of drugs, talk therapy and family support made greater strides in the first 2 years of treatment than patients who just received drug therapy.
Featured on the front page of yesterday’s NY Times, the report made clear that family involvement and “talk therapy” are vital in the treatment of schizophrenia, and this combined approach provided more symptom relief to patients (and thus families) and capacity for higher functioning at the end of 2 years. The study will be published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, and the article can be found here:
At CCAF we are well aware of the importance of family inclusion and family psychoeducation around certain illness, particularly those that strike in early adulthood. We collaborate with Dr. Claudia Baldassano and her team of psychiatry residents to facilitate multifamily Bipolar Psychoeducation groups. We have developed a series of 4 – 90 minute family group sessions during which:
- information about the illness is presented, and families invited to ask questions,
- families tell their story about how the diagnosis was made,
- families discuss the process of coming to terms with the illness,
- we discuss how to handle relapse and emergencies, and
- anything else the family wants to talk about.
The Center for Couples and Adult Families is fortunate to be situated within the Department of Psychiatry here at Penn. We look forward to further collaboration to develop similar groups for families of schizophrenic patients.
An article by my friend and colleague Laurie Charles. We are board members of The American Family Therapy Academy; her work with families around the world informs and expands my thinking about health across the lifespan. Our psychiatry residents will also benefit from her experience as they move on to practice psychiatry in the US and around the world.
*This post is an updated and modified version of an article by the same name, published in the July/August 2015 issue of Family Therapy Magazine. Used here with permission.
Last night was the final meeting of our Shoufi-Mafi: Global Mental Health , a student driven task group at my university. The group originated from a confluence of events, one of which was the curiosity of my student Yajaira, who relentlessly quizzed me after our Introduction to Family Therapy course on Thursday nights. “Dr. Laurie, How do you get to travel so much? Who contacts you? What do you do?”
Yajaira’s persistence and genuine curiosity inspired my own: What could I do to support this interest in global mental health? Was there interest in such a group? Using Yajaira’s initial questions as a starting point, the Shoufi-Mafi met for seven sessions this past Spring, doing every thing from viewing…
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I have been deeply involved in a project that culminated in a collaborative Grand Rounds presentation late last month. I was fortunate to have Drs. Ellen Berman and Yu-Heng Guo on my team as we demonstrated the necessity of family inclusion in psychiatric practice.
Not just the necessity, but the “how-to.”
This presentation gave me the opportunity to operationalize what comes ‘naturally’ to me at this point in my career. I have been a couple and family therapist for over 30 years. What, after all this time, is my philosophy of treatment? How do I put into words what I have come to intuit about families ?
I gave it some thought, and talked it over with family psychiatrist and CCAF founder, Dr. Ellen Berman. Here’s the result of our conversation: our philosophy:
“Psychiatric problems and family dynamics are intertwined; there is an ongoing interplay between the individual and his/her relational system that supports or inhibits movement toward health. This stands in contrast to the historical struggle between psychiatry and family therapy, which was framed as an either/or choice point when considering treatment.”
Indeed there are times when we work closely with family members to support their loved one with medication compliance. This is particularly true when there has been a diagnosis such as Bipolar Disorder; the psychiatrist is part of the treatment team, along with the family.
Our goals in clinical work with families are collaboration, curiosity, and crafting a narrative.
“We work as a collaborative team with the family to adopt a position of curiosity about what brought them to this moment in time. Together we craft an initial narrative to help the family begin to make sense of their current situation; the initial narrative is based on the family genogram and the timeline of significant events as the family has moved through the life cycle.
All narratives are constructed to find a “way in” to the patients’s capacity for symptom reduction and a return to forward movement through their life cycle.”
This position of curiosity is an important facet of our work. To experience a clinician as wondering, speculative and interested is necessary for the family. It enables them to step back and begin to construct a story about what happened. Were there numerous losses during a particular year? Old wounds that remain unhealed?
When a family arrives at my office, they are usually feeling sad and incompetent that they have not, despite their best efforts, been able to alleviate their loved one’s symptoms. It is a difficult experience when the love in a family cannot ‘cure’ the heartache of depression or prevent the random illness or accident. We are at great risk when we love another person, and we feel that most profoundly in family relationships.
It is also important to recognize how hard family members work to support their loved one, how tired they are and how much respect they need for their efforts towards health for the family.
It does help to construct a timeline of significant events that, woven together, tell a story. It is the cohesive narrative of the family’s movement through time that supports forward motion. Sometimes we introduce new language: power, abuse, gender roles, for example. The narrative is both explanatory and generative, opening the possibility for even more stories to be told about what is happening.
A favorite part of our Grand Rounds experience was the discussion that followed with the audience. There were great questions and palpable excitement about the potential of family inclusion and family consultation.
The Center for Couples and Adult Families (CCAF) is fortunate to be situated in The Perelman School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry here at Penn. CCAF is an entire program dedicated to training in family inclusion. We have the opportunity to influence the next generations of psychiatrists to expand their thinking beyond the individual, and leverage the potential for healing and change inherent in family relationships.