Bipolar disorder (BPD) has received increasing attention from public
and professional sources. Although pharmacologic treatments are considered
the sine qua non in the treatment of youth with BPD, psychosocial
interventions are critical to assist the child and family cope with
symptoms that carry with them significant morbidity and mortality.
Treatments developed to date are few in number; all are
psychoeducationally based, using cognitive–behavioral and family
systems interventions within a biopsychosocial framework. This paper
reviews possible mediators of outcome, including caregiver concordance,
children's social skills, hopelessness, and family stress. The author
has developed two family-based psychoeducational interventions for the
treatment of youth with BPD: multifamily psychoeducation groups (MFPG) and
individual family psychoeducation (IFP). These treatments are both
described and the results from a previously published randomized clinical
trial (RCT) of MFPG are summarized. Then, new findings from an RCT of IFP
are presented, along with preliminary pilot data from an expanded version
of IFP. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research.
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