Psychoeducation is a relatively young field of intervention in Quebec. At its beginnings, in the ‘50s, the psychoeducators were mostly working with teenagers exhibiting severe challenging behaviors. The psychoeducational intervention was back then a new approach that led to an important change comparing to the institutional approach that was used to address delinquent behaviors. Nowadays, psychoeducation is considered as a science of prevention and intervention for individuals who experience adaptation issues that emerge through behaviors. It is structured around precise procedures and scientific literature supports the methodology in order to offer quality services that are adapted to clients’ specific needs.
What is the term “adaptation” referring to?
The concept of “adaptation” varies depending on the theoretical perspectives. We can briefly outline that adaptation refers to the way of a person will get into action to maintain a stability in a changing social environment. This is a dynamic concept that underlines all of the interactions between the person and the social environment. Therefore, “inadaptation” can be defined as a severe disturbance in the interactions between an individual and the environment, and this disturbance can potentially get persistent or can be exacerbated if no appropriate intervention is made, and ultimately, despite the intervention (Gendreau, 2011).
The psychoeducator’s expertise
The psychoeducator differs from other counselors by his knowledge of the human development, from early childhood to old age. The psychoeducator is a professional who is interested on how a person faces environmental demands and expectations and considered the environmental limits to meet the needs of the person. He builds is intervention on his client’s capacity and abilities, which creates a partnership between him and his client. The psychoeducator considers his client as being the expert of his reality and assumes a position where he supports his client into a rehabilitation process. The psychoeducator can intervene in a broad range of contexts and with people of all ages.
The services that are offered by a psychoeducator can be divided into three categories: (1) evaluation, (2) intervention and (3) transfer of knowledge.
1) Psychoeducational evaluation
Psychoeducation is a field in which its professionals can complete evaluations targeting the adaptation of an individual in his environment. The evaluation helps to better understand the individual difficultiesin his usual living environment and to identify the needs in terms of rehabilitation. Through the evaluation, the psychoeducator defines his clinical judgment on his client’s adaptive capabilities and challenges, as well as on his client’s social environment. The objective of the evaluation is to recommend efficient and rigorous interventions to lower the impacts on the individual and on his social environment that are generated by the person’s inadaptation.
Aside the evaluation, the psychoeducator can participate in (Bill no.21, 2013):
- Detection which “consists in observing indicators of a problem not yet identify or risk factors within the frame of interventions with various goals”;
- Screening which “aims to distinguish between the individuals probably affected by a problem not diagnosed or a risk factor for a problem, from the individuals who probably are not”;
- Assessment that is defined by “considering indicators obtain through clinical observations, tests or instruments”;
- Contribution which refers to “the assistance provided by various workers to perform the activity reserved for the professional”.
2) Psychoeducational intervention
The psychoeducator works with people who have developed, or who are currently experiencing a challenging interaction with their social environment. The psychoeducational intervention can be preventative or rehabilitative. It uses the social environment to support the individual into the therapeutic process to find balance toward himself and his social environment.
The psychoeducator can help you or your child to:
- Face personal crisis situations, break-up or family re-organisation
- Go through hard or anxiety-provoking periods
- Face illness or grief
- Develop self-esteem
- Learn coping strategies
- Address challenging behaviors
- Put in place specialized interventions to support the person having mental health issues (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional disorder, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, etc.).
3) Transfer of knowledge
The psychoeducator organizes and hosts sessions to transfer specialized knowledge to parents and children. Those sessions allow to upgrade the knowledge of the participants on a precise subject and to increase their abilities on specific challenges.