Being sick or injured is a serious drag, as far as popular consensus is concerned, and with good reason. Physical and mental capabilities may slow down, pain can become an incessant problem, and the feeling of “missing out” on life are all common components of the negative experience of being sick. Add a hospital stay to the equation, and these issues can easily multiply and take on new and depressing forms.
A significant number of hospitalized people experience depression during and/or following their stay. Traditional approaches tend to placate the symptoms with a battery of medications. But in addition to being expensive, sometimes ineffective, and potentially addicting, these medicines may not be the best path to emotional recovery for those in the hospital.
To investigate the efficacy of new approaches, a study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics has put family therapy to the test. As many hospital patients feel isolated from the world and can quickly acquire feelings of loneliness, the potential for family therapy to make a positive impact was wisely assessed. The study’s researchers used both single-family and multi-family therapy approaches to determine which kind of sessions had the greatest results.
Incorporating eighty three hospitalized patients, the study provided a portion with multi-family therapy, while assigning others single-family therapy and providing the control group with physician-directed traditional care only. Test group subjects received this basic care as well. After a period of fifteen months, patients in the multi-family therapy group showed a forty nine percent treatment responder rate and a twenty six percent drop in the use of antidepressant medications. This is significantly higher when compared with twenty four and sixteen percent for the single-family therapy group, and nine and zero percent for the control group.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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