Users and Relatives Experts (UFE) as a resource in psychic illness treatment

Lucrezia Notarbartolo, Rossana Calì, Paola Miano


Taking charge of psychiatric patients represents a complex intervention, aimed at increasing autonomy and quality of life of both individuals with a severe psychiatric symptomatology and their relatives; in particular, psychiatric rehabilitation and psychoeducational interventions, focusing on treatment and relational and social skills, may lead to a decrease in negative effects from the illness. From the experience of a Mental Health Department in Trento, a Psychiatric Service for Diagnosis and Treatment in BLINDED launched a project based on the participation of Users and Relatives Experts (UFE) in various activities related to reception, support and self help group. UFE intervention was analysed through research that envisaged the administration of an interview to 27 users, evaluating the contact experience between users and UFE, with reference to the presence and the frequency of eight dimensions estimated as meaningful (received empathy, expressed empathy, trust, confidence, received parity, expressed parity, hope, compliance). The story of a woman with a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder clearly expresses the function of the UFE group and the positive effects that UFE activities can have, both on group members and on those who benefit from their intervention.


mental illness; psychiatric treatments; user involvement; relatives involvement

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363