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Cross-Cultural Issues in Family Interventions for Bipolar Disorders

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Aditya SharmaORCiD


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A cultural perspective in psychiatry is important for identifying novel and effective approaches to treating diverse populations across the world. Family-focused treatment (FFT) is useful as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy in symptom stabilization, relapse prevention, and functional enhancement in patients with adult and adolescent bipolar disorder. The scope and targets of FFT include the family’s knowledge of bipolar disorder and interactions between the symptomatic individual and his/her caregivers (i.e., parents, spouse, siblings, or extended family). Knowledge of illness and family interactions are likely to be influenced by cultural variables. FFT has been used in two different countries (UK and Turkey) outside the US, providing a model for discussing cross-cultural issues in psychotherapy for bipolar disorder. Dr. Aditya Sharma from the UK and Dr. Aysegul Ozerdem from Turkey will present their experiences of applying FFT in two patient populations (adolescents in UK and adults in Turkey) from both clinical and research points of view. Dr. Sharma will describe the modifications made from a more directive to a more collaborative therapeutic style while keeping a balance between fidelity to the treatment protocol vs. encouraging family engagement. The relationships between these protocol modifications and length of time in treatment and number of completed sessions will be reviewed. He will also discuss the impact of different technical terminology in psychoeducation sessions. Dr. Ozerdem will present the application of the original FFT protocol for adults in a Turkish outpatient sample. Adaptations of the model included substitution of oral for written therapeutic tasks or homework assignments. The third speaker from US (Dr. David Miklowitz) will discuss how the similarities and differences in applying FFT across cultures can be used as a model for the development of other novel interventions for bipolar disorder.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ozerdem A, Sharma A, Miklowitz DJ

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 17th Annual Conference of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 39-39

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/bdi.12306_29

Series Title: Bipolar Disorders