Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Family Involvement

It is often very difficult for us to treat injured workers whose family members become intrusive and disruptive to the treatment process. Most often it is the husband or wife who becomes (overly) involved and interferes with proper treatment.

However, very often it is the mother of a male patient. She assumes that you are not treating her boy well, that you are not meeting his needs, and her evidence is that he seems completely miserable in her presence.

The reality is:
* Sons can and do use their injuries as a means to punish their mothers for things of which you may not be aware * Mothers who have otherwise neglected their children now rally to “help” the child now that he is injured * Mothers who have problems in their marriages relish having the son as a target of attention.and a means of attacking their husbands * Mothers who enjoy attention from doctors can now gather attention
indirectly through the complaints of their sons * Mothers, who have problems with authority and control, now have a means of taking control from others.

How it is handled is as follows:
1. Find out what purpose this is serving in this dysfunctional family
2. Since the son has a right to not share data with the mother, it is appropriate for you to express an unwillingness to share those data yourself
3. Insist that communication come from the son, that he is the patientand that
you will not compromise whatever trust he has developed with you.
4. Inform the son that your office cannot function as a mother-son
liaison officer
and resolve their problems.which existed before this injury.

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