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The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Edited by LeRoy Spaniol, Anthony M. Zipple, Diane T. Marsh, and Laurene Y. Finley

Reviewed by Elizabeth W. Farrell, Betsy S. Greer, and Barbara Pilvin, NAMI Literature Committee

The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation
edited by LeRoy Spaniol, Anthony M. Zipple, Diane T. Marsh, and Laurene Y. Finley
(Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University, 2000. 224 pages. Hardcover: $32.95)

The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation is a workbook intended as a teaching tool for professionals who work with severely mentally ill people. It has elicited a different reaction in each of the three reviewers. All agree that it is useful and written by professionals revered in their field. All agree that perhaps it has been compiled from their previous publications and lacks current citations to support their theory, research, and practice.

One reviewer was excited about the breadth of the course, which clearly delineates how a severe mental illness in one family member truly affects everyone in the immediate and extended family.

The second reviewer was pleased with the solid, common-sense suggestions for assisting families, liked the discussion of young family members and their special needs, and appreciated the information about handling legal confidentiality so family members are included in treatment decisions. She also welcomed the chapter on cultural diversity.

The third reviewer was rightfully appalled that this workbook assumes permanent or at The third reviewer was rightfully appalled that this workbook assumes permanent or at least very long-term, severe disability. Noting that the book focuses on "chronic dependence," she was displeased with the lack of attention to recovery.

What's the good news? First, consumers and families can have the book at a 40-percent discount from the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University, 940 Commonwealth Avenue West, Boston, MA 12215. That lowers the price from $32.95 to $19.77. Purchasers get chapter material, pages that can be made into transparencies if teaching, and end-of-chapter questions about main points. Some of the chapter titles are, and I paraphrase: the family experience, how roles in families change, family needs, the needs of young family members, practical coping, stress and burnout, confidentiality, the cultural context, and family and professional collaboration.

For a one-stop-shopping, simple, organized way to address professionals about family needs when severe mental illness strikes, the workbook is good. For a more complex approach, see the textbook by Diane Marsh, Serious Mental Illness and the Family, The Practitioner's Guide, 1998, John Wiley and Sons. Inc.


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