Clients do not strengthen their commitment to treatment by telling family and friends. Families and friends are not included in treatment, even though addiction is a “family disease.”
Include family and friends in the treatment process right from the start, so that they understand how treatment works, how to support the person in treatment, how the recovery process will continue after treatment at this level of care ends, and so that they can get help as well. Include family and friends in the admission process as well as when planning for discharge.
STEPS at Liberty Center in Wooster, Ohio found that clients with family support had higher completion rates. Of the clients who indicated that they had support from their families, 77.3 percent completed six sessions, whereas those who did not, had a completion rate of only 45.5 percent.
Gosnold, Inc. in Falmouth, Massachusetts has a member of the admissions staff greet the family in the lobby. The admissions staff person explains what to expect, answers questions, and instructs family and friends to inform the counselor if the client wants to leave treatment. Gosnold also provides a fact sheet to explain who’s who in the treatment process and to provide facts about addiction. They also developed a curriculum for families based on feedback obtained from the families and friends of clients.
Data Collection Forms
If this change was not an improvement and you can’t make it work, abandon this practice and test other promising practices that might be more successful in your setting.
Women’s Recovery Association in Burlingame, California offers sessions for friends and family who are required to attend before they are allowed to visit a client in residential treatment.
The Jackie Nitschke Center, Inc. in Green Bay, Wisconsin includes family and friends in admission planning and discharge planning. Prior to admission, when agency staff members talk with family members to obtain collateral information, they also make sure the family members understand the admission requirements and what will happen if these are not in place. These include, for example, that the client been through detoxification, is medically able to participate and has seen a doctor. Discussion about discharge planning begins in family sessions and on family day, to make sure that everyone has realistic and consistent expectations about what will happen after discharge. Family members also write letters about how they have been affected by the client’s recovery; these letters are presented in group therapy sessions.
Daybreak Treatment Services in Spokane, Washington includes parents in their adolescent clients’ treatment sessions.
Prairie Ridge Treatment Services in Mason City, Iowa offers a group for family members called “Living in Balance,” which uses a unique open, nonthreatening environment to ask questions, understand how to help, and understand how actions can help or hurt the process of recovery. This group is intended for family and friends of persons that struggle with substances, and clients in recovery who are open to understanding how their substance use affects the people that they love.