This qualitative study explored the experience of four families living with schizophrenia patients. Family therapy, including children, was conducted in the outpatients' homes. The family members' reactions to the impact of the illness were analyzed by qualitative analysis. Six recurrent themes were identified: disengagement, intrafamilial conflict, triangulation, detouring triad, affective involvement and reciprocity. The findings of this study can increase the effectiveness of family intervention by mental health professionals working with schizophrenic out-patients and their families. Furthermore, these families can cope effectively by moving from disengagement to reciprocity.