Look at animation 4: Setting the aims together

Sometimes professionals think that they know what is best when it comes to the issues of concern within the family. However, after hearing the worries and strengths of the family, the picture might be totally different. Because preconceptions of mental distress are often negative, family and carers can also have negative preconceptions about themselves (Tweedwell et al. 2004; Small et al. 2010). This might lower the sense of empowerment and increase the feelings of helplessness among family members. Therefore it is important not to decide the aims for the family but with the family and to engage everybody in this process.

The presence of mental health problems often means great emotional turmoil for the family. Fear, self-doubt, loss of hope and other feelings have been discussed in different studies (Tweedwell et al., 2004; Sjoblom et al., 2005; Reed 2008; Small et al., 2010). Concrete aims, agreed with the family, can be a way of working towards the future and fostering a sense of hope.

  • Imagine yourself in a situation where someone else tells you to do something differently, (for example loosing weight or increasing the amount of exercise you do in your life). Then stop and think, if you could set the aims yourself. Which one of these two you find easier to engage with?

  • Are you happy with how the aims were set in this meeting?
  • Was there something missing?
  • Was someone not listened to?
  • Would you do anything differently if you were the practitioner in the meeting?

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.

Sjöblom, L-M., Pejlert, A. & Asplund, K. 2005. Nurses’ view of the family in psychiatric care. Journal of Clinical Nursing 14, 562-569.

Small, N., Harrison, J. & Newell, R. 2010. Carer burden in schizophrenia: considerations for nursing practice.. Mental Health Practice 14 (4), 22-25.

Reed SI. 2008.First-episode psychosis: a literature review.. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 17(2), 85-91.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.