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Can family therapy help me understand my loved one's bipolar disorder?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
If someone in your family has bipolar disorder, family therapy may improve communications between your loved one and family members. In family therapy, a psychotherapist, licensed therapist, psychologist, or social worker will help your family identify stressors that are causing problems within the family. These stressors can sometimes lead to negative emotions and unhealthy behaviors--in all family members, not just in the person who has bipolar disorder. Family members can learn new coping skills to help the loved one during mood episodes. Your loved one can learn to be more aware of behaviors that create problems for other family members.

Family therapy can be helpful if you feel that the both of you are not being successful in dealing with the impact that the disorder is having upon your relationship. By facilitating open communication a family therapist can also help you to better understand how your loved one experiences his or her bipolar disorder. The more you can understand your loved one's bipolar experience, and likewise, the more your loved one can know your concerns and observations, the more likely that both of you can successfully approach the bipolar issues together.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.