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Ruben, a young man in his twenties, was suffering from regular accruing psychosis and had already been admitted to a psychiatric clinic several times. However, despite being hospitalized, Ruben never wanted his family to know about his psychotic episodes. One of his friends recounted; “When he found himself in the hospital, he repeatedly turned down the proposition to inform his family. He would keep saying to the supervisors that under no circumstances did he want his parents to be involved.” However, at the end of his admission, a community worker talked to Ruben about the possibility of a Family Group Conference (FGC). At first, he was very hesitant, but as his discharge approached, Ruben decided to give it a chance. In regard, the coordinator met his friends and his family members, who confirmed that contact with Ruben was practically nonexistent during his hospitalization.  

As follows, the coordinator prepared and supported Ruben and his family and friends through the process of organizing the FGC. Moreover, during the meeting itself, the family took the opportunity to share their experiences of Ruben’s admissions. Later on, we heard that the following quote by one of his family members has been a turning point for Ruben;  “We want to be there for you, without judgment and without having to do anything. You can express what you need in that situation, but we want you to know that we support you!”. From that moment on, Ruben decided that his supervisors within the psychiatric clinic must call his family when he experienced another psychosis, even if within these moments he claims that he does not want it. Further, the plan resulting from the FGC stated who else could be informed and which actions were allowed to be taken. This with the outcome that afterward, all those involved – and Ruben in particular-, said that the plan had given them a lot of peace of mind. 


A story from Belgium

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