Without passing any judgment, when we look at why he is not motivated to find work, it is pretty easy to see what is going on. He has no need to find work. Couple that with the fact that finding work is an uncomfortable process (it is for almost all of us!), and it becomes really clear why there has not been a lot of progress in the search for a job.
In order for his level of motivation to change, we need to think about how to alter the context. The quickest way to change this context is to start working to move her son out of his comfortable situation. In working with his parents, we agreed that the first steps to take were to start to limit his "allowance, giving him notice that his allowance would be reduced by 50% after 2 weeks, and then would be eliminated entirely in one month. In addition, we worked on a plan to have him move into his own residence, and also to create a budget that increased the need for her son to find a job. One ideal that we talked about would be for the parents to initially pay for the rent, basic utilities, and medical insurance, and that he had to pay for all other expenses (food, toiletries, household expenses, cell phone, internet/cable, cigarettes, coffee, and spending money). This creates a very different context for their son, and his need to find work. When the context is changed to where he will not be able to buy food if he doesn’t get a job, there will certainly be more immediacy in his job search.
The thought that arose as we were talking about making these changes, was whether she and her husband could tolerate the uncomfortable thought of her son being in this new context, especially if he continued to not be proactive in looking for work and had to live with the natural consequence of not having money to buy food. It is really hard to hold this thought, and square it with the idea that they really do love and care for their son. This is one of the challenges of parenting; holding that sometimes the most loving and supportive thing you can do for your child is help them to become more independent, even when it mean enduring the short-term discomfort that accompanies change.