Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Supporting the Process

How does the family support our member in choosing a specific goal?

Whether or not the family “approves” of the goal that is chosen, it is very helpful for the family to lend emotional and practical support to the goal. The family may just need to ask “What can I do to help?” Sometimes the answer will be a specific request and at times the answer may be “Nothing. I can do it myself.” Either response is okay.

The important thing is that the individual, the team of professional supporters and the family members are in harmony (on the “same page”). This helps to reduce or eliminate any unnecessary stress that might occur when supporters differ. (CCMHI)

Should we provide advice to our family member on selecting a goal?

One caution is to be careful not to “select” the “right” type of job or job setting for the family member or the “right” vocational resource (see possible options below). If you are way off the mark, your family member might be offended or even angry when you give direct advice. (Plante)

It is helpful if you have or can direct your family member to find up-to-date information about local job markets. If you have employer contacts, share those as well – word of mouth is still the #1 way that people in general find work. Families do not have to be the Employment Specialists but can assist with personal contacts and support to the family member in their ability to make their own choices.

Families need to avoid the same errors sometimes made by professionals – that is to encourage taking “any job” without considering the person’s own goals or the right job “fit”. Sometimes you have very helpful information and the best you can do is present the information (in a neutral manner) as information, not advice.

It is always a delicate role to be parents of an adult! If you’re interested in a Supported Employment programs, please contact your state’s Department of Mental Health.

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What should I do if my family member is put on a waiting list for employment services or a program which includes employment services?

In the case of a waiting list, be sure to do whatever is necessary to stay on the waiting list such as periodic phone calls, emails, or written notes to ensure a place.

Your family member could find out if there are actions which they can take during the wait period that would help to accelerate the process. These activities might include attending a job-related group, getting necessary reports to the agency, reading materials, doing some Self-Directed activities or finding someone in the chosen type of work to interview.

Do not give up because of the waiting list. In some states, collaborations form across agencies in order to help job seekers to get services more quickly rather than be on a waiting list. (ICI)

In the meantime, your family member can participate in the activities that are in their wellness plan to minimize stress and increase health. Both of these goals can be an asset to the job seeker. Also, they can investigate the many online resources that relate to the fields of interest or to job development. (Wright)

Return to the main page on helping your family member Find a Path to Employment.

What am I looking to help my family member do?