Next Chapter’s Systemic Approach to Treating Dependencies
It is a well-accepted fact within the recovery community that you cannot effectively treat the addicted without the involvement of their families. Often, family members are the unintentional enablers or triggers for the behaviors that led to dependency to begin with. However, it is also these families to which clients will have to return once they have completed their program at a treatment facility.
It doesn’t really matter how effective a treatment program is if it simply places the client back in the same, unchanged environment that enabled their addiction and other dysfunctional behaviors. That client is far more likely to relapse into their old behaviors.
This is why we put so much importance upon our family program at Next Chapter. Our ultimate goal is always to help our clients achieve permanent success in their recovery so that they may remain free of dependencies indefinitely after leaving our care. We want to make sure that each client has the best chance of success, and that means involving family members integrally.
Fortunately, nearly all families want this too.
Wanting to Help
Commonly, treatment centers involve family members with regular, weekly updates from a primary therapist. This keeps family members apprised of how the client is progressing through treatment, and generally provides them a degree of insight into the psychological state of the client and the roots of his dependency. For many families, this will be revelatory, and family members will want to do whatever they can to help.
Often, treatment centers will host a multi-day “family program” event, where family members are brought into the facility to engage their loved one during treatment, and to learn about his recovery and how they can help him.
While both of these efforts are invaluable to the treatment process, we believe that family involvement should go further.
What we have found is that undergoing a thorough treatment process while surrounded by others who are doing the same thing helps clients find a psychologically sound place that, while beneficial, is often at odds with the relative chaos of the outside world. It is not uncommon for clients to leave treatment with more psychological and emotional stability than the rest of their family. However, that also means they are less likely to maintain it.
For example, consider a client with a parent or parents who have always tried to help their child by facilitating every possible facet of his life. By sheltering him from adversity throughout his development, they may have inadvertently stifled his ability to cope with problems on his own. This creates fertile ground for dependencies to develop, or for the recovering addict, to return.
So, even though family members are eager to help, they may actually end up undermining the recovery effort without intending to.
More than Just a Program
This is why Next Chapter takes the family program concept to another level.
Our family protocol is to not only assign each client a primary therapist, but also a family therapist, who engages family members for at least an hour every week. Thus, family members undergo therapy at the same time, and not only come to terms with the many ways in which they have and will impact the client, but also with what they can do to create a home environment that is more supportive of their loved one’s recovery effort. At the same time, this allows us a means of improving familial relationships which have often been damaged by the client’s dependency, as well as helping those family members in all of their other relationships.
These family therapy sessions can be conducted in person, or over video or teleconferencing. Whatever works best for the family. But they are not optional. Next Chapter makes it clear from the outset that family involvement and treatment is required for every client we take on.
Just like our clients, family members are tasked with looking deeply into their own upbringing and childhoods. This helps them understand how they may have adapted to certain roles which impacted their development and shaped their parenting styles. In doing so, family members gain greater insight into how their patterns of enabling and setting boundaries may be unhealthy.
Like other facilities, we also invite family members for a 3 day experiential program at our location. However, the effect of this program is generally far more profound at Next Chapter, because family members have already been undergoing their own intensive therapy. By bringing them together with their loved one in the controlled environment of our treatment center, we can observe how they interact and relate, and help both client and family adjust behaviors and attitudes before the treatment process draws to a close. In addition to the family program, family members are also invited for 1-2 day clinical impact days, where they are immersed in daily clinical activities alongside their loved ones.
Inevitably, this face-to-face interaction summons intense emotions from both client and family members, but it is how they process these emotions that is most important, and it is essential that our clinical professionals are on hand to help. It is not uncommon to discover that there is still much therapeutic work to be done on either side, but with all parties engaged in therapy, that conversation has significantly evolved, and greater progress can be made.
Making Way for the Real World
As a dedicated treatment facility, Next Chapter is always seeking to improve outcomes for our clients, and by extension, their families as well. Our coordinated team effort and therapeutic approach has proven highly effective at helping our clients understand their dependencies and emotional triggers, and our program is designed to facilitate the transitioning process as they prepare to leave treatment and return to their lives.
But we would be remiss in our mission if we were to allow these individuals who fully invest themselves in their own recovery to simply return to the same world in which their dependencies first manifested. It is not enough to find success in just treatment alone, where a secure, controlled, and supportive environment restores hope and agency to those who have all but given up.
We must recognize that no matter how far a client may progress while in our care, it is how far they progress outside of it that matters the most.
Learn more about our unique team and approach at nextchaptertreatment.com