Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is often faced in isolation. People with bipolar disorder report strong feelings of loneliness especially when showing symptoms of depression. When someone does seek help through therapy, it is often focused on the individual and on their own feelings. Family focused therapy, which includes family members and those closest to the individual, can improve the effectiveness of the therapy because the person will feel understood by those closest to them.
People who do not have bipolar disorder often have a hard time understanding the problems associated with it. The solution to this problem is quite simple, read up. If you have someone dear to you who has bipolar disorder, it’s time to educate yourself through not only reading but also through communicating with your loved one about their condition.
If the Loved One Is A Child
If the person with bipolar disorder is your child, the responsibility to communicate and educate falls more heavily onto your shoulders. The stress of raising a child with bipolar disorder may be enough for you to seek counseling yourself. Receiving therapy will help you deal with the stress and give you an opportunity to learn more about what to expect as your child encounters symptoms of the disorder.
In addition to each of you receiving your own therapy sessions, undergoing counseling together may be an excellent option. Similar to marital counseling, group/family counseling offers you an opportunity to improve communication by discussing those hot topics with a mediator present. The true purpose is to help everyone involved feel support as they deal with these difficult challenges.
It is during these family counseling sessions that patients and family members are taught about the nature of the illness. In family focused therapy the attention is on how the family dynamics and relationships can help or hurt the individual with the disorder. Meeting together with a therapist helps the family move forward and work towards solutions to the problems brought about by the disorder and family dynamics instead of scapegoating the disorder.
When there is someone with bipolar in the household, it is likely that they are not the only one acting out. A lot of times parents can become over controlling which results in more stress and may even cause the person with bipolar disorder to act out in rebellion. Family focused therapy can give parents tools to use when they are feeling stressed and help them find less controlling methods to deal with the problems that arise.
Families are Affected by Bipolar Disorder
The motivation for getting actively involved in family focused therapy is that everyone is affected by it. The more educated you are and the more communication tools you have the easier it will be to face feelings of helplessness, anger, and frustration. It can be exhausting to care for someone with bipolar disorder, and it can lead to burn out. When this happens many people stop therapy all together and then the problem only gets worse. Family focused therapy is meant to redirect this negative energy in an effort to promote acceptance and responsibility.