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How can the family help?

The gentle caress of a mother, the warm embrace of a father or the healing shoulder of a spouse can go a long away in the recovery of a person suffering from mental health issues. The role of the client’s family becomes even more pronounced in a culture that inherently values the institution of family. Interdependence and involvement of family members is a way of life here and we as psychologists have come to recognize that. The counselling services at IZR include the family as part of the team and train them with the integral skills to manage the mental illness of their family member, even in a home setting.

It has been found that involving families increases the feelings of togetherness, skills to deal with the patient, the emotional support that the patient feels, improves their relationship and helps the family understand the disease by reducing the fear of it. It further improves medication compliance and reduces the risk of a relapse.

Moreover, close family members and friends are not only able to help the patient in their bad times but may also be affected by their disease. When an addict comes home and has no control of his actions and behaviours, it is likely that their spouse, children, or elderly parents would be scarred by such incidents. The alcoholic losing control in public would be a great embarrassment to the family as well and all this stress, emotional disturbance and negativity will definitely affect their mental health as well. Also, most of the loved ones of an addict try to reduce their addictive behaviours by enabling them more as they don’t know what’s best for them.

Other times, strong family ties and the influence that the family holds over an individual may be the reason for their illness. Through interventions, psychologists help you identify those maladaptive behaviors that could be a risk factor in your loved one’s illness. By teaching communication and assertiveness skills, the family is better able to get their opinion across to the other person and understand the others’ perspective, leading to a healthier family environment.

Family therapy is often a useful tool in treating the following conditions:

  • Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder etc.
  • Substance use disorders such hash, cocaine, ice, heroine, ecstasy, meth etc.
  • Mood disorders, which include depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.
  • Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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