At Lifeskills, we understand that when a loved one is suffering from an addiction or a mental illness, family members can find themselves at a loss for direction. And it’s not uncommon for families to feel overwhelmed with making decisions as finding the right help for their loved one can be stressful. Family members arrive at our facilities seeking guidance, hope, and peace, which we provide via our family support program.
Our Therapeutic Approach
As influenced by Bowenian Family Therapy, we view the family as a system. In this system, every member affects their other family members. When mental illness or addiction is present, it can disrupt the cohesion in the family system. It can also devastate the lives of individual members, often creating unhealthy family dynamics.
Some family members take on the responsibility of keeping their loved ones healthy at the expense of their own well-being. Others may experience guilt, shame, or fear which can lead to depression and anxiety. It can be difficult for families to break unhealthy patterns even after the family member with the behavioral health disorder is in recovery.
At Lifeskills, all our family therapists are licensed clinicians with vast experience and specialties. This experience includes addiction and chronic relapse, trauma and grief, co-occurring disorders and chronic illnesses, and marriage and family issues. Our therapeutic approaches are varied and tailored to each family.
Our Family Support Program: STEER
Through our family support program, STEER, we guide family members in the process of treatment and provide them with Support, Training, Empowerment, Education, and ultimately lead them to Recovery. Upon each client’s admission, therapists begin working with their family and provide regularly scheduled sessions to help them work through past pain and resentments as well as new dynamics and challenges.
We use interventions and concepts to educate families that include a comprehensive family assessment, the completion of a family diagram (also known as a “Genogram”), assistance in recognizing triangles and anxiety within their system, effective communication skills training, and when necessary, the implementation of therapeutic communication guidelines. Our STEER model is coupled with recommended ancillary supports to provide a comprehensive recovery program for families.
STEER Program Components
- Weekly Family Support Program Sessions: The initial session is held with only the family to help them process feelings, develop healthy boundaries, and provide education. After the first session, the therapist will work the client into these sessions as appropriate.
- Weekly Telephonic Family Support Group: Consisting of psychoeducation and open discussion, various members of our clinical and administrative teams attend as guest speakers on topics specific to their area of specialty or interest.
- Family Weekend Program: This program includes family processing exercises and a full day of workshops on topics such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), trauma therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and family dynamics as well as a presentation by Lifeskills Medical Director on mental illness and addiction.
- Family Restructuring: These in-the-moment interventions are provided as needed to help family members and clients overcome barriers. Families attend group sessions, meet with the treatment team, and participate in intensive family therapy sessions.