The role of family relationships during recovery from mental illness

Families coping with the mental illness of a loved one are often overwhelmed by a range of emotions.

Dr. Jon G. Allen, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, recently spoke with Janice Poplack, director of social work at the Menninger Clinic, about the role of family members during a patient’s recovery from mental illness. Poplack says one of the biggest challenges family members often need to overcome is a sense of guilt.

“I think it’s often the case that family members feel they may be to blame for the patient’s condition. One thing we try to communicate is that there is no one reason why a patient has a mental illness,” she said.

Poplack also discussed the concept of “mentalizing” to help family members and patients increase the level of understanding amongst each other.

“The family, patient, and even the staff, should be curious about what’s going on rather than having assumptions or certainty about each other’s feelings.”

Poplack discusses more about the family’s involvement during treatment and recovery in the following video.

Additional Resources

If you believe you or someone else in your life may need help, contact the Baylor Psychiatry Clinic at 713-798-4857.

Learn more about the Menninger Clinic.

-By Nicole Blanton

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