Vanessa L. Perocier, Ph.D., is a 2023 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Denzel Jones, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Tomoyo Kawano, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Stewart Gilbert, M.D., Committee Member


Severe mental illness, family, treatment, ecological systems theory

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While severe mental illness (SMI) is extensively studied, less attention focuses on the relationship between people with SMI and their families and the impact this may have on treatment. Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological systems theory conceptualized the treatment and recovery of people with SMI and their families. This study proposes that if family members getting social support contribute to a person's treatment plan, the individual's treatment outcome will improve rather than the individual enduring the treatment process individually. By applying ecological systems theory, mental health professionals and policymakers can better grasp the systemic nature of individuals, their family members, and surrounding external circumstances. Future research implications and recommendations aim to increase knowledge and awareness of family involvement during SMI treatment approaches.


Vanessa L. Perocier

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0001-7278-1529