Maastricht, 21-22/1/2019

How to manage NVR Interventions with Adult Children?

In this workshop we delve into the actual, step-by-step (hands-on) management of change in families with adult children.

Over two days we will learn:

  • The typical phases of an NVR change process in a family with an adult child.
  • What are the characteristic obstacles to change, associated with each phase?
  • To identify and overcome those obstacles
  • To assess the family’s change potential
  • To deal with treatment withdrawal
  • How to formulate significant, yet realistic, goals
  • To maintain the therapist’s presence facing the family’s despair, guilt, fear and objective risk factors
  • How to help the family recuperate its capacities to believe, to hope and to envision
  • How to help the family break it’s wall of social isolation and of mobilize its social support system
  • To deepen our sense of how NVR works
  • A general introduction to what are adult children, Adult Entitled Dependence and NVR (see below).

We will also deal with challenges and complications such as:

  • A parental couple crisis
  • Major illness or very old age of the parents
  • Divorced, alienated or single parents
  • Anxiety synergies between family members
  • Extreme states of self-isolation, social withdrawal, violence and suicidality in the adult child
  • Acute crisis management
  • Case complications

Workshop Emphasis

This workshop emphasizes practical change management skills. Participants are encouraged to bring actual ongoing cases as illustrations. Live interviews with families are also welcome. The course assumes some general knowledge about the NVR approach, as well as about emerging adulthood, Adult Entitled Dependence and the Adult Children phenomenon. It is recommended that you at least read our paper.[1]

What are adult children?

A new class of “invisibles” is rapidly growing in post-industrial societies: young adults who are socially withdrawn, not in employment or training, and dysfunctionally dependent on their families. Invisible because they typically refuse treatment, their distress often falls under the radar of mental health and other social services. The suffering families often present their distress to mental health services, but these services are not equipped to help invisible clients.

In the past 40 years, as the transition into adulthood is becoming longer, the population of adult children has grown dramatically. The ages of independent habitation, marriage and onset of parenthood are older than before, and as the path to adulthood becomes more prolonged and twisted, an increasing number of young men and women experience difficulty completing it. In many cases the transition to fully autonomous functioning does not occur or is reversed after an abortive attempt at independence, leading to chronic dependence on parental support, treatment refusal, extreme social isolation, digital network and other addictions, escalation of psychiatric conditions, and social and other forms of anxiety. We call these individuals Adult-Children – young people whose psycho-social development towards normative adulthood has stopped.

What are NVR interventions for adult children?

During the past eight years, we have developed an NVR intervention which helps families of “adult children” break their devastating cycles of invisibility, despair, dependence and accommodation, even without the adult child’s cooperation. Our intervention applies the principles of Haim Omer’s NVR to cope with difficulties of treatment refusal, extreme social withdrawal, and entitled dependence in young adults with and without mental disorders. Systemic change is initiated by unilaterally working with the parents and their social support network. 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 come to treat the situation as their problem, and then learn to re-define the boundaries of their responsibility.

A typical NVR/AED intervention lasts about 10-15 sessions and involves mainly the parents and their social support network. It 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 which nourishes his maladaptive dependence. Like all other NVR protocols, NVR/AED interventions can be applied either as a standalone, short-term parent counseling, or within the larger context of family or couple therapy. It 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.

Course Trainer: Dan Dulberger

Dan is a psychologist and family and couple therapist specializing in NVR-oriented systemic interventions, with particular emphasis on AED (Adult Entitled Dependence), resistance to family violence, and crisis intervention. Dan manages the Center for Non-Violent Resistance Psychology, a private counseling center for parents of adults suffering from AED and behavior and anxiety problems, which he co-founded with Professor Haim Omer. Dan has developed and published, together with Professor Omer and the center team, a NVR-based intervention model for Adult-child crises and AED. He is also founder of an international forum of NVR practitioners and a team member of the School of Non-Violent Resistance. In the past, Dan has held various journalistic positions, as well as senior business development, marketing and entrepreneurship positions in Israel’s High Tech industry. Dan holds an M.A. degree in Social Psychology from the Tel Aviv University and is a graduate of the Herzeliyah Shinui Institute of Family Therapy.

Course Settings and Registration

The course will take place, in English, at the School voor systemische opleidingen in Bunde/Maastricht, Holland, on January 21-22, 2019. 

The training fee will be 290 € including lunch, coffee and tea. Information on available hotels ,B&B and lodging, will be provided to those interested.

Class seats are limited. To register please write to Dan Dulberger at ddolberger@gmail.com, or to Marielle Gelissen at info@schoolvoorsystemischeopleidingen.nl . You can also register at http://nvrpsy.com/training-supervision/maas or call +31 618 050 855. Information in Dutch is available from www.schoolvoorsystemischeopleidingen.nl

[1] Lebowitz E, Dolberger D, Nortov E, Omer H. (2012) Parent training in nonviolent resistance for adult entitled dependence. Family Process, 51, 90-106.

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