Family Based Addiction Recovery Therapy – The Shores Treatment & Recovery


Hi my name is Dr. Laura Olivos. I am a
clinical psychologist here at The Shores and also the clinical director of the
programs here. And today we’re going to be talking about the importance of
family work in recovery. To preface this however, we want to make sure that
everyone is aware that this takes us to be able to obtain some informed consent
from the patient that we’re seeing or the client that we’re seeing to engage
their family members. So a lot of times the biggest barrier in engaging family
into treatment is the fact that some people aren’t consenting to it, may be
resistant to it. So this is absolutely a voluntary experience here at The Shores.
But one of the biggest things we advocate for is connection. We know that
addiction has made us isolated. It has depleted us from healthy connections in
our lives. And what the research shows is if you engage the family or sober
supports that are there for you, your chances of maintaining longer sobriety
go up. And this has been shown through and through not only for addiction but
other mental health issues as well. So we definitely advocate that if you have
someone in your life that’s rooting for you, that’s that one person that supports
you, albeit imperfectly a lot of times, we still encourage you to bring them
into the therapeutic process to work through a lot of those nuances and
relationship issues that you may be experiencing. The way we approach family
work here at The Shores is tiered into three different kinds of programs. The
first is an educational program for family members, where every Monday night,
families from all over the country, of either current clients or past clients,
call into a conference line and they receive educational information on a
topic that’s related to recovery for the family. And so the premise of this part
of our program is to be able to inform the families, despite not being able to
engage directly with their loved one, they can still get the information of
different phases of recovery, how to approach your loved one with effective
communication, issues such as codependency, and boundaries are
discussed. And these are all in general terms and in general principles. But it’s
really helpful to get a foundation. So education is definitely the first
part of our program. The second part is where we engage the family face-to-face,
if that’s available, or if you’re out of town we offer, if appropriate, we offer
video conferencing or phone conferencing, depending on the consent of the client.
And that really evolves into different curriculums that we offer within that
context. The first is we offer family systems therapy, which looks a lot at
roles within the family system and the dysfunction within those roles and also
what is healthy. And we integrate those roles, talk about those roles, and try to
work hard on how that influences addiction or how it can help recovery.
The second thing that we offer in the context of face-to-face family work is a
curriculum that’s developed by Deborah Jay and it’s called “It Takes a Family” and
it’s a structured family recovery curriculum, that’s modeled after the
Physicians Health Program, which has one of the highest rates of long-term
sobriety. And what it is essentially it boils down to very basic elements that
the family and the loved one have to both engage in to be able to engage in
recovery, together. And they follow principles of structure and
accountability and support. Those are the biggest things that are advocated for in
that curriculum. It’s a 52-week program, that you can even continue outside of
The Shores, and you meet once a week with your loved ones and you go through a
recovery-oriented meeting, where everyone’s held accountable to engage in
their own recovery and their own healing. So that’s a super important part of our
process. We love that curriculum and that program. It’s worked wonders with a lot
of the families that we’ve had come through here. The premise is also that
it’s not just the addict or the loved one that is suffering and needing
healing, it’s also the family members who have been emptied from their addiction
to saving their loved one. Or it is about helping them heal from the co
dependencies they have with their loved one. Or from the traumas they’ve
experienced because of their loved ones addiction. And so part of it is holding
accountable the family members to also pursue their own healing and recovery
for themselves. The third tier that we’re working on in our family program, which
is yet to be fully developed, but will be sometime in the summer, is a family
retreat. And that’s to be announced and further details will be provided
as we go into the planning of this process. But our goal is to be able to
bring the families on campus, to be able to experience treatment for a few days
for themselves, and be able to also discuss the hardships and the benefits
of being in a recovery process.