Friday, October 22, 2010

What is Psycho-Education?

In the broader sense, psycho-education refers to the education given to people who are living with emotional disturbances. The rationale behind a psycho-educational approach is that, with a clear understanding of the mental condition, and self-knowledge of own strengths, community resources, and coping skills, the individual is better equipped to deal with the problem and to contribute to his or her own emotional well-being. The core psycho-educational principle is education has a role in emotional and behavioral change. With an improved understanding of the causes and effects of the problem, psycho-education broadens the person’s perception and interpretation of the problem, and this refined view positively influences the individual’s emotions and behavior. Consequently, improved awareness of causes and effects leads to improved self-efficacy (the person believing that he is able to manage the situation), and improved self-efficacy leads to better self-control. In other words, the person feels less helpless about the situation and more in control of himself or herself. Educating people about their own mental issues can be an effective way for them to get the facts and learn effective coping strategies so that they take the steps necessary in helping themselves. Psycho-education is not a treatment; in clinical settings, psycho-education is the first step of the overall treatment plan.
Psycho-education involves anything that teaches people about mental health issues. We can define mental health not as the absence of problems, but as knowing what we can realistically expect of others and ourselves, as well as knowing what to do when problems arise (coping skills). In clinical settings, psycho-education targets both the patient and the patient’s family. Educational training of key family members aims at helping families understand what is happening “inside the person” with the mental illness, and to train family members in how to take care of the mental patient.
Using what psychological theory (the psycho part) and pedagogical methods (the education part) offer, psycho-education is not new to schools, being around since the 1970’s. Current psycho-educational models have emerged from a blending in developmental, cognitive, and learning psychological theories. In the classroom setting, the emphasis is on behavior management theories and methods that teachers can use to manage and modify troubled behaviors. Classroom psycho-educational approaches are oriented toward improving social behavior, teaching the troubled and behaviorally disordered student the socio-emotional coping skills that the child seems to be lacking. Among others, the discussion and development of emotional literacy topics like resiliency, decision-making, social problem solving, self-management of emotions (e.g. anger management), and self-management of behavior or self-control are ideally suited for the classroom experience. Psycho-educational teachers recognize that troubled students benefit from a degree of self-knowledge and self-awareness to be able to relate well with peers, and have the goal of helping troubled students learn about their own feelings and behaviors. Both in clinical settings and in school settings, psycho-education is educational training and skills building.
For an overview on psycho-education, read my article, Classroom Management Strategies for Dealing with Habitually Disruptive Students: Applications of Psycho-Educational Principles and Models. Here is the link:

Related articles...
Creating Rapport with a Disruptive and Acting-Out Student: Psycho-Educational Interventions for Students with Special Needs

When Children Fail in School: What Teachers and Parents Need to Know about Learned Helplessness

Of Interest to Teachers...

Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachabe Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To preview this book on Amazon, click here.


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