Goals for Helping Families

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Because families are the primary care agent, an enormous source of social support, and a strong contributing factor to recovery, the family-professional relationship should be one of collaboration, avoiding blaming and pathologizing family members. Given the objective and subjective burden of family members and the needs of their relative with mental illness, Anderson and colleagues (1986) specified the following goals in trying to help families:

• Establish a relationship with the family in which there is a genuine working alliance that is a partnership in order to help the consumer.

• Attempt to comprehend familial problems that may be contributing to both the stress level of the consumer and the family members.

• Gain an understanding of the family's resources and what successful and unsuccessful attempts have been made to cope with the illness they have faced.

• Build rehabilitative and educational endeavors around the family's strengths.

• Develop appropriate expectations for the rehabilitation and treatment process through a contract that includes specific goals that are both mutual and attainable.

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