The Willingness team of professionals came up with the idea of a ‘Therapeutic support group for relatives of individuals who suffer from mental illness’, after working with many clients in therapy who were struggling to support their relatives because of their mental health diagnosis. The group aimed to create a safe space for people who are caring for, living with, and/ or want to know more about how to support relatives who suffer from a mental illness. The group had 10 sessions which revolved around different themes such as: supporting a relative in a moment of crisis, dealing with experiences of guilt, shame, and frustration, adjusting to new roles in the family, and preventing career burnout, amongst other themes.
This group, which was a closed group, invited people who wanted to gain more knowledge and awareness about mental illness whilst also having the chance to talk openly about their experiences. The group members also had the opportunity to understand the experiences of individuals who are also facing this reality. The therapeutic support group was co-facilitated by Claire Borg who is a Psychotherapist, and Rebecca Cassar who is a Systemic Family Therapist. The group facilitators have over 7 years of experience working with people who suffer from mental illness. They have worked with individuals and families in residential settings, on an outreach level in the community, and also in private practice. For 5 of the 10 sessions they were also joined by other professionals who work in the psychology and social work field who will be guest speakers discussing specific topics in their area of expertise.