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Intervention in Family Settings

AED situations rarely resolve themselves. Rather, they call for careful and determined intervention. Most existing interventions, however, do not work for AED. Dependent adult children typically refuse treatment of any sort, except such that perpetuates their condition. Distressed parents may then see a psychiatrist, a family therapist, or a psychotherapist on their own, expecting to get the “tools” need to convince their adult child to change. The professionals, however, usually refer onwards and say that they cannot work without the adult child’s cooperation.

NVR/AED can and does work. In AED cases, parents are typically the only ones interested in change.  Our AED intervention uses the principles of NVR psychology to create a setting where systemic change can be initiated by unilaterally working with the parents and their social support networks. As young dependent adults often say to their parents: “I’m all right! It is you who have a problem. Go treat yourselves!” NVR interventions for AED begin when parents take this advice seriously, they begin to treat the situation as their problem, and then learn to re-define the boundaries of their responsibilities.

A typical NVR/AED intervention lasts about 10-15 sessions and involves the parents and their social support networks. This method implements NVR principles such as non-escalating struggle, transparency, publicity, documentation, support, and self-change, with the goal of unilaterally changing not the adult child directly but the ecology that nourishes his maladaptive dependence. Like all other NVR protocols, NVR/AED interventions can be applied either as standalone, short-term parent counseling, or within the larger context of family or couples therapy. NVR can be performed with or without the adult child’s cooperation, and can be effectively combined with psychotherapy, CBT, psychiatry, social work, coaching and education.

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