Nowadays, family caregivers are one of the most important resources in the care provided to dependent patients. In numerous occasions the responsibility they face causes physical, mental and economic alterations that might lead to the resignation of the family caregiver, as well as to the deterioration of the quality of life and the institutionalization of the patient under care [1–3].
The great number of occurrences of mental health disorders caused by the care given to the dependent population is corroborated by several studies affirming that the restriction of social activities, insomnia, psychological discomfort, despair, excess, stress, physical problems, difficulties in the work and professional sphere, emotional disruption (anxiety, depression), reduction of leisure time  and feelings of discomfort regarding life in general, are just some examples that indirectly deteriorate the quality of life of the caregiver, the patient and the family unit [5, 6]. An appropriate service to the caregiver, working alongside the social services and establishing measures to combine family and professional life may contribute to prevent or palliate the so-called "ill caregiver syndrome", increase his or her self-esteem and quality of life, improve the care to a dependent person and avoid his or her institutionalization . Several different educational programs have been developed with data indicating a significant increase of the caregiver's knowledge on the development of the relative's disease and on his or her competence. However, their effectiveness to reduce the caregiver's discomfort has not been proven yet . In fact, in some cases this type of programs causes tension, rather than reducing it, but usually include information about problems that do not affect the patient under care, anticipating future problematic situations that might never occur. Moreover, it has been verified that a better knowledge about the disease of the dependent patient does not correlate with a lesser emotional discomfort on the part of the caregiver [8, 9]. This reveals the necessity to evaluate the effectiveness of non-pharmacological therapies.
Psychotherapeutic interventions achieve best results in reducing the symptomatology and improving the emotional state of the caregivers . However, in order to develop those intervention programs, which alleviate the burden of the caregiver, they have to be designed from a multi-dimensional and multi-professional perspective . In addition, the intervention must be carried out by well-trained professionals with the capacity to face, control and solve their emotional problems.
For a long time, Primary Health Care Teams have been dealing with the prevention and treatment of health problems in adults with chronic diseases. There are the professionals who offer health care to dependent patients as well as to their caregivers. Although their necessities are covered by the Primary Health System, it is an enormously difficult task, mainly because health care professionals lack the appropriate training to perform basic duties needed in this field. According to a study carried out in Primary Health Care System , three out of 4 health care professionals feel competent to attend demands related with routine care tasks; just 5.5 out of 10 feel competent in advising on problematic behavior and problematic situations related to health care, whereas only 3 out of 10 feel qualified to offer some guidance on the consequences of such care. A vast majority of professionals believe that there is a need to train the caregivers on psychosocial and behavioral aspects so as to more accurately assist them on their necessities. Given into account that 7 out of 10 claim not to have received any kind of training on this matter, it seems logic to assume that the majority of the necessities put forward directly or indirectly by the caregivers are at present not been dealt with. Thus, it is essential to invest on professional training on a field with a great impact on the personal, social and political levels.
By means of a standard psychotherapeutic intervention, Losada et al. achieved to modify a variety of problematic behaviors in groups of family caregivers of patients suffering from dementia.
This essay attempts to analyze a psychotherapeutic intervention from a comprehensive perspective similar to that of Losada with caregivers of patients suffering from different pathologies in the primary health care context.
The following objectives have been established:
Designing and assessing a psychotherapeutic intervention strategy in the Primary Health Care System to efficiently work on the mental health and the quality of life of the family caregivers of dependent patients.
Assessing a cognitive-behavioral intervention, which is to be applied on Primary Health Care Centers, in order to modify the dysfunctional beliefs so as to appropriately deal with the care given, based on the principles of the cognitive theory.