Look at animation 3: Discussion on Strengths

  • Thinking about the meeting with the Smith Family, are you satisfied with the way the professional acts and asks about the family's strenghts?
  • What would you do differently? Provide a justification for your answer.
  • Use the literature cited in this section and in previous sections to support your justification.
  • Can you source some literature that is not cited here?

Life is not only about worries, even though they are the reasons that the family engages with the mental health services. The presence of mental health problems and other concerns narrow the perspective and overshadows other aspects in the family's every day life. Therefore it is important to gently remind everyone about the strengths that they possess as a family as well as the good things they have besides th worries and problems.

Family-focused care is underpinned by the idea that the subjective experience of illness is valued, the family have an opportunity to share the illness narrative with professionals and that they are helped to maintain hope (Tweedell et al. 2004; Hultsjö et al. 2007.) This does not mean minimizing or ignoring the worries, but being open to discussing both the worries and strengths.

When working with families, empowerment is an important element and when strengths are discussed, empowerment is supported. As a professional you can create an empowering environment in the meeting and engage families with this activity (Gavois et al 2006). Motivational discussion might be one tool to use to help the family to recognize their own strengths (Mahone et al., 2011).

Allison S, Stacey K, Dadds L, Roeger L, Wood A & Martin G. 2003. What the family brings: gathering evidence for strengths-based work. Journal of Family Therapy 25(3), 263-284.

Gavois H, Paulsson G & Fridlund B.2006. Mental health professional support in families with a member suffering from severe mental illness: a grounded theory model. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 20 (1), 102-9.

Huiting, X.2013. Strengths-based Approach for Mental Health Recovery. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 7(2),5-10.

Hultsjö S, Berterö C & Hjelm K.2007. Perceptions of psychiatric care among foreign- and Swedish-born people with psychotic disorders.. Journal of Advanced Nursing 60(3):279-88.

Mahone IH, Farrell S, Hinton I, Johnson R, Moody D, Rifkin K, Moore K, Becker M & Barker MR. 2011.Shared Decision Making in Mental Health Treatment: Qualitative Findings From Stakeholder Focus Groups. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing 25 (6), e27-e36.

Tweedell D, Forchuck C, Jewell J & Steinnagel, L. 2004. Families’ experience During Recovery or Nonrecovery From Psychosis. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing vol XVIII, 1 (Feb), 17-25.

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