Family therapy without the family, a psychoeducational support group for the adult child

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Rutledge, Suzanne Leigh
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The overall purpose of this practicum was to develop, implement, and evaluate an intervention which would assist the "Adult child" to improve her ability to cope with an aging parent whom she perceived as having a "difficult personality". An intergenerational and feminist groupwork intervention strategy was utilized in this project to provide support and improve the Adult child's coping skills. In particular, the aim of the intervention was to facilitate improved ways of coping through the reduction of feelings of burden, and/or the improvement of social support, and/or the improvement of attitude toward the parent, and/or the improvement of self-esteem. The group, conducted for eleven weeks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, consisted of eight women who perceived a parent as having a "difficult personality" and who were drawn to the soup by their desire to change their relationship with that parent. The practicum findings indi ated that the group was helpful to all group members. It was particularly helpful in improving members' perception of the quality of social support available to them, and in creating positive changes in members' attitudes toward their parents, as they engaged in resolving issues from the past. This form of group intervention was found to be an effective modality for helping the Adult child. Implications for the practice of social work with the Adult child whose parent has a "difficult personality" are outlined, and suggestions for future study are offered.