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Pathways to Promise|
5400 Arsenal Street
St. Louis, MO 63139
FAX: (314) 877-6405
Working with the Family
How Mental Health Resources Can Assist A Family
Mental health professionals and support and advocacy groups help a family as they work through their feelings of loss, confusion, and concerns about caring for the ill family member. They can provide information about:
Mental health professionals use a number of approaches in working with families. One is Family Systems Theory. Murray Bowen, M.D. did the seminal work in this area. Systems theory can help people understand what is happening to them both historically and environmentally. Family systems look at patterns of behavior in the context of the family, assessing both its strengths and weaknesses. Family system theory enables all members of the family to understand and develop ways of assisting and supporting each other.
Family systems have been applied to a wide range of issues. For example, Edwin H. Friedman in his book, Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue, applied family systems theory in understanding the dynamics of congregational life.
- the illness, symptoms, prospects for recovery and suggestions on helping to manage symptomatic behavior
- how the brain is affected
- medications, side effects and how the medication interacts with other medications
- written materials, references, sharing, expertise in problem solving, communication and resources
- educational opportunities, such as workshops or lectures
- planning for the future in terms of finances, housing, rehabilitation, etc.
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