A care-giver is not necessarily a parent; they could be an older sibling, a grandparent or another adult who is willing to help (Godley, Meyers, et al., 2001; p141).
The aims are to provide care-givers with (i) a more positive attitude about their adolescent that eliminates blaming anyone for current problems, (ii) an understanding of the therapeutic approach or treatment process and the importance of their role in treatment, (iii) motivation to continue working with the practitioner (Godley, Meyers, et al., 2001).
Rapport building strategies include:
- letting the caregiver have the opportunity to discuss his or her feelings about the family situation
- empathising with the caregiver’s concerns, but quickly focus on what needs to be done now
- sharing general information from your work with other families, affirming that these sorts of sessions can be helpful and that research has shown these techniques have helped other families in similar situations (Godley, Meyers, et al., 2001; p141-142).
Key motivational strategies include:
- providing education about the therapeutic approach currently being employed
- providing education from research findings about parenting / caregiver practices that can be helpful
- rapport building
- keeping the interaction positive
ACRA provides detailed procedures for involving caregivers in treatment. The following processes are explained in greater detail in the Family Focused Interventions elements:
F1. Engaging, orientating & negotiating ground rules
This element provides more detailed information about engaging a family in the treatment process.
F2. Information provision
No matter what level, if any, of involvement a parent or family member wishes to have with the treatment process, they may still benefit from some information as described.
F3. Collaborating & building motivation
This provides details about the basic techniques for involving parents or caregivers in the young persons change process.
F8. Keeping the interaction positive
Including some ACRA tools, this element goes into more detail about how to manage the challenge of keeping the family meeting positive and goal-oriented, instead of blaming or problem-focused.