The impact of a dynamic psychosocial intervention group for caretakers of individuals with severe mental illness

Shuvit Melamed, Marc Gelkopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Family members have an important role to play in the caring for their mentally ill relative, and many of them suffer from a significant burden of care. In many cases, these caretakers abandon much of their private and personal space, investing most - if not all - of their time and energy in their caretaker function. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a short-term, 6-session, dynamic, psychosocial-oriented intervention focusing on the caregiving family and aiming at helping family members regain meaning and control over their own lives, notwithstanding the mental illness of their kin. Thirty-three family group participants and 20 family waiting list control participants took part in the study. They were assessed before and after the intervention on a measure of burden and of caregiving experience. The results show improvements for the caregiving family on both measures, denoting basic social functioning, less disruption in activities, and a reduction in feelings of guilt. Results also showed a significant reduction in the difficulty in coping with the ill family members' negative symptoms and an improvement in rewarding experiences, as well as in the relationship with the family member. By re-nurturing and empowering the caretaker's private space within a group format, it is possible to reduce some of the burden resulting from taking care of one's ill relative. Limitations and implications of the study to the field of mental health are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • caregiving family
  • group psychotherapy
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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