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Families, partners and carers of persons with personality disorder experience significant distress and burden within this role (Bailey & Grenyer, 2013, 2014; Day, Bourke, Townsend, & Grenyer, 2018). Treatment guidelines now recommend supporting families and carers, including involving them in the treatment process to improve wellbeing and thereby assist them in effectively caregiving for the person with personality disorder. This manual has been designed to help services engage and work with families and carers of persons with personality disorder in a brief four session intervention that aims to provide information, support and strategies. This manual has been developed in accordance with the relational model advocated by the Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders (see The Relational Model of Treatment in the Project Air Strategy Treatment Guidelines). The relational model involves an integrative and collaborative approach to personality disorders treatment, focussing not only on the person with personality disorder but also carers, health services and clinicians. In the relational treatment model, the person’s problems are seen as stemming from problematic and dysfunctional relationship patterns that have developed over time (Grenyer, 2012). These relationship patterns are considered both intrapersonal (how the person relates to themselves, including their feelings and thoughts) and interpersonal (how they relate to others). The relational model recognises that responsibility for effective relationships also rests with others involved in the person’s life. It is now recognised that a service system that works together in an integrated manner better supports people with personality disorders, rather than any sector working in isolation (Grenyer, 2014; Grenyer, Lewis, Fanaian, & Kotze, 2018). Therefore, clinicians, case managers, carers, youth workers, teachers, school counsellors and the broader community share a joint responsibility to respond effectively to the person in a way that is helpful and encouraging (Townsend, Gray, Lancaster, & Grenyer, 2018). Indeed, longitudinal research indicates that clinicians attitudes towards working with individuals with a personality disorder has improved, reflecting the hope and optimism of treatment providers and the wider community informed by over 27 years of evidence and treatment (Day, Hunt, Cortis-Jones, & Grenyer, 2018). Caring for and helping people with personality disorders is everyone's business (Grenyer, Ng, Townsend, & Rao, 2017) and everyone can choose to adopt the key principles from the Project Air Strategy model. This manual was utilized in a randomized controlled trial that sought to provide education and support to carers of individuals with a personality disorder (Grenyer et al., 2018). Compared to waitlist control groups, participants reported improvements in their relationship with their relative with a personality disorder and improvements in family empowerment (reflecting carers ability to take an active role in supporting their relatives treatment). At a 12 month follow-up these improvements were maintained and carers also reported an improvement in their mental health and decreased levels of burden.
Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, 36p
Bailey, Rachel C.; Lewis, Kate L.; Matthias, Michael; Garrety, Toni; Bickerton, Annemaree; and Grenyer, Brin F.S., (2019), Family, Partner and Carer Intervention Manual for Personality Disorders, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, 36p.