CHAPTER 24Family Behavioral Health Wellness Assessment

Arden O'Connor

“Ibarely recognize my own son. Where did we go wrong?”

Their sobbing and desperation fill the room. We want to respond with reassurance that their son will turn out as they hoped, eventually become “normal.” We know better—we know that the journey toward “wellness” will challenge these parents to their cores and force them to examine their preconceptions, hopes, and plans for their son. We respond, “There are strategies to improve the issues you describe, and qualified professionals to help. The path is not easy, nor straight or simple. Your son's issues will likely impact your family system, and we will want to take a holistic approach to maximize our chances for success.”

Affluent families are not immune or protected from experiencing behavioral health challenges. Stigma, shame, and entitlement often accompany clinical diagnoses, making them hard to treat. While money allows families to afford best-in-class care, it also allows natural consequences to be avoided and families to remain in denial in even the most acute situations. Our clients need help determining how to support loved ones with mental health or substance abuse issues, while simultaneously holding them accountable for their behaviors and maintaining their own realistic expectations.

Our questions in this chapter aim to promote self-reflection, exploration into issues ignored or avoided, and uncomfortable conversations. Silence protects the ...

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