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Independent Functioning

by Sauer,Kathleen Helen last modified Jan 05, 2010 06:16 PM

Activities in this module are designed to inform and reassure the patient and parents as to the paramount importance, in the face of often debilitating symptoms, of the need to fashion as “normal” an adolescent experience as possible for the patient.  Initial activities are designed to help the patient and parents assess the adverse impact of the patient’s illness on their academic, social, recreational, vocational and physical functioning.  Each family member is seen as having a “role” to play in the patient’s recovery from their chronic illness, and this is facilitated through homework assignments where these roles and functions are more clearly delineated, with an emphasis on how helpful or unhelpful these efforts at support have been perceived by the patient. 

The concept of “Misguided Support” is introduced wherein, in family members’ efforts to be helpful to the patient, these behaviors are experienced by the patient as undermining their developmental need to become more independent in both illness management and non-illness related arenas.  Parent-patient communication is addressed in the interest of improving these communication patterns so as to support increased self-confidence and sense of self-efficacy on the part of the child.  A behavioral contracting procedure is introduced to the family to be employed in those instances where a more formal commitment and monitoring process are needed to facilitate change.  Finally, guidelines are provided for structuring a post-treatment long-term recovery plan that attempts to minimize regression to previous dynamics that may undermine patient recovery and independent functioning.  


  • Impact of illness on patient and family
  • The role of family members
  • Misguided support
  • Improving parent-teen communication
  • Contracting for behavioral change
  • Long-term coping and recovery management


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