September 26, 2019

I Don’t Want My Parents Involved! Or Do I? Conceptualizing and Addressing Resistance to Caregiver Involvement

resistance to caregiver involvementAlthough family-oriented therapies and caregiver involvement are increasingly regarded as best practice in the treatment of eating disorders, some clients refuse to invite their parents, partners or alternate caregivers into their treatment. What steps can we, as providers, take when our client or patient doesn’t want their family involved?
One of the primary tenets of Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) is that caregivers play an important and significant role in supporting their family members’ healing, at any age. When caregivers are absent from the treatment process, patients — and their families — miss out on many benefits. Caregivers miss out on new tools and strategies to both empower themselves and interrupt potentially problematic cycles of relating to their loved one. Family members also miss out on important education and skills training to support their family members in treatment and as they return home. As such, patients miss out on family support, understanding and empathy, and more. Some believe that without caregiver involvement, some patients may struggle more in the recovery process or be more likely to relapse.
As professionals, we must find ways to work with our patients to explore their resistance to caregiver involvement. The clinician and client can then brainstorm ways to increase their family’s engagement, and in a way that respects the client’s underlying concerns.  This way, patient and families are able to thrive together.
In preliminary observations, when supported with specific interventions targeting resistance to caregiver involvement, “more than 80 percent of clients/patients who initially refused caregiver involvement agreed to involve their loved ones in some way,” shares Adele Lafrance, PhD, Co-Developer of Emotion-Focused Family Therapy and Director of Mental Health Foundations.
Families play a very important role in their loved ones’ treatment and are an integral part of their recovery. When we are able to engage caregivers to support their loved ones in treatment, a great deal of healing and transformation can occur. 
Resistance to caregiver involvement

Caregiver education, involvement, and empowerment can be essential to helping individuals thrive in recovery. Treatment providers have a number of tools to draw from in order to address patient resistance to caregiver involvement in the treatment process.
Elizabeth Easton, PsyD and Adele Lafrance, PhD, with Craig Johnson, PhD, CEDS, FAED, present I Don’t Want My Parents Involved! Or Do I?: Conceptualizing and Addressing Resistance to Caregiver Involvement” at the annual Eating Recovery Foundation Conference on Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8:45 a.m. The presenters will explore some of the underlying drivers of resistance to caregiver involvement and introduce a framework for clinicians to clarify and work through such impasses, and in a way that honor’s the client’s capacity to make treatment decisions.
Drs. Easton, Lafrance, and Johnson will explore skills and tools drawing from Emotion-Focused Family Therapy and other approaches — to empower and enhance attendees’ abilities to be more effective in their clinical work. 
“Emotion-Focused Family Therapy has reignited my passion for working with patients, empowering families and supporting my colleagues in the field. It requires you, as the clinician, to be present, connected and vulnerable...and the effects are truly inspirational. EFFT has had an impact on my relationships, personally and professionally. I am honored to be involved in this work,” shares Dr. Easton.
Learn more this October
Join us for this year’s conference at the Westin Denver Downtown or via livestream and join more than 5,000 professionals who have trusted the annual Eating Recovery Foundation Conference for their learning and networking objectives. New this year, an expanded curriculum offers specific education tracks for eating disorders and for mood, anxiety and trauma disorders. 
  • Hear from nationally recognized clinical mental health leaders. 
  • Learn about the most up-to-date eating disorder diagnosis and treatment guidelines. 
  • Participate in in-depth discussions of evidence-based diagnosis and treatment recommendations for mood, anxiety and trauma disorders. 
  • Join expanded panel discussions with more opportunities to connect with each other and speakers. 
  • Gain valuable insights from others in your field, and experience training and cutting-edge techniques from recognized leaders that you can apply in your practice right away. 
Find new ways to address resistance to caregiver involvement by attending the 11th Annual Eating Recovery Foundation Conference. Learn more here.
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