National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Element 3: Supporting Resilience (continued)

There are many things you can do to explore the family's ecological picture and encourage them to be an active part in positive change. These include:

  • Encourage families to talk about their needs. Allow family to tell their story, which may have little to do with a child's difficulties. Convey understanding by using active listening techniques. Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Often when people talk to each other, they don't listen attentively. They are often distracted, half listening, half thinking about something else. They are often busy thinking about what to say next. You must attend to the parent fully, and then repeat, in the parents' own words, what you think they said. You should also interpret the parents' words in terms of feelings. Thus, instead of just repeating what happened, you might add, "I gather that you felt angry or frustrated or confused when [a particular event happened]."
  • Help families acknowledge stress. When partnering with parents, you can help them pinpoint the factors contributing to their stress, as well as their successful coping strategies and their personal, family, and community resources. Use the ideas in the table to help explore different types of stressors with families.
In order to explore...
...ask the parent:
1. What causes stress How does stress happen? What triggers it? Do little things add up?
2. What the parent identifies as everyday stressors What kinds of frustrations do you deal with during the day? Has something happened recently that has made life more difficult?
3. Impact of stress on parenting How are you able to meet your children's needs when you are dealing with stress? How do your children react to this stress?
4. Whether there is marital stress or conflict How does your spouse or partner support you in times of stress? How does your spouse or partner help with parenting?
5. Needs that might be identified by a different family member (not all family members may identify the same needs) Are other family members experiencing stress or concern? How are they dealing with that? Has anyone in your family expressed concern about drug or alcohol abuse?

6. Short-term supports (respite care, help with a new baby, help during an illness)

Long-term support (job training, marital counseling)

When you are under stress, what is most helpful to you?

Are there places in the community where you can find help?





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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation