What’s your opinion on combining psychiatric and psychotherapeutic approaches to care?
I think it is very important to consider the biopsychosocial aspect of somebody’s illness. I don’t think that prescribing medicine solely is the answer to this, and bearing in mind the other factors like psychoeducation and the family influences, the environmental influence and the stresses that might trigger relapses, and illnesses generally, making sure that there is some psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational role to the treatment is very important.
What are your thoughts on how and when to involve the family and carer in a patient’s illness?
I work in home treatment, so I see people who are acutely unwell, and we would find it very difficult to treat manic patients at home without family intervention. We have families who are very supportive and who very much want to know about relapse indicators and about how they can help their family members stay well, so involving families is a very important aspect of what we do, both in the acute phase but also when we pass patients back to their own community mental health teams, in terms of the longer phase. I think looking after and supporting families is a very important part of looking after the patient.