Multiple family groups have been used for some time as a treatment for hospitalized psychiatric patients. However, there is no indication that they have been used in orienting patients and their families during the traumatic initial period on the inpatient ward. The authors describe the use of family orientation group meetings on the psychiatric inpatient ward of a university hospital. The theoretical bases of the group format are explained and the kinds of information relayed to parents and patients are outlined. The authors believe that use of one-time orientation meetings can help turn the crucial initial period into a therapeutic gain for the patient.