The family has a unique significance in the care of the psychiatric patient. More than simply an aspect of the social environment, the family is intimately involved in and affected by the patient's illness. Family relationships are characterized by interdependence, an ongoing interplay of influence and adaptation between the individual and the family. Changes in one member, as toward illness or recovery, reflect and reverberate in the entire family group. The implications for emotional illness are far-reaching. Dynamic understanding and therapeutic intervention have come to involve the family as a whole.
Information based on clinical experience in casework with parents and adolescent psychiatric admissions is offered in the September Archives of General Psychiatry.1 The crisis for the family as a whole, implied and caused by the adolescent's hospitalization, is defined as: (1) the impact of mental illness on the family, (2) family disruption precipitating hospitalization, (3) family disruption following