When family members enter treatment, their anxiety level is extraordinarily high and therefore, if you attempt to teach them about addiction (this is an all-inclusive term for chemical and process addictions) and the effects of enabling through lectures, power point presentations and process groups, their ability to comprehend and retain that information is severely compromised. It’s basic neurobiology: if you’re anxious, you can’t remember things.
So why do treatment centers continue to base their family program on that model? Wouldn’t it make more sense to utilize sociometry – an action method comprised of warm up exercises – to help people lower their anxiety and “land” in the room, and then teach them about addiction, enabling and recovery through action? That’s what our Family Treatment Training Program offers.
The simple fact is that we learn better through action
You can demonstrate tying shoelaces to a child a thousand times, but until she actually does it herself and practices it, she won’t truly integrate how to do it. The same is true in working with families. Setting boundaries is an important tool – and goal – for addicted family members, but just talking about it won’t allow the somatic learning – the role training – that they need to practice in order to master it. And that role training, that trying on of different approaches in a safe and supportive environment, can mean the difference between setting – and keeping – boundaries, and ceasing to enable. And when we’re dealing with addiction, it can mean the difference between life and death.
Another deficit of most family treatment programs is that they are centered solely on addiction and the addict, neglecting the importance of focusing with the family on the potentially fatal consequences of enabling. By teaching about enabling through action, it allows family members to understand and integrate learning, and feel the negative effects of enabling on not only on the addict, but also on themselves.
Lastly, since addiction destroys connection within a family system, our Family Program Model focuses on re-building the mutual love and support that has been lost as a result of the trauma and resentment that has invaded the family. Through sociometry and sculpting exercises on the final day, we help families reintegrate, re-establish connection, re-build trust and make a plan to continue to move towards recovery together.
What makes our Family Program Model different?
Our Family Program Training Model provides a step-by-step process where your staff receives training in action methods, and then one family program at a time, steps more and more into the role of facilitation, with the ultimate goal of fully facilitating the family program themselves.