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How family-focused recovery creates a generational legacy of healing

By Comments off By the Numbers: How family-focused recovery creates a generational legacy of healing

When a family comes to the FRrē organization, they’re usually pretty confident that they know who or what the problem is: An individual in the family has a mental health issue or substance abuse or another behavioral issue, there’s an out-of-control teenager, communication needs improvement or boundaries need re-alignment. In any case, the family feels stuck and there is usually a certain amount of finger-pointing going on.

Everyone has a part to play

In most cases, the problem did not start and does not exist in a vacuum.  Other people in the family/system have been impacted and developed their own adaptations to the problem, and sometimes even contributed to the problem.

Families come to us to solve the problem, and we are good at that. Often the entire system is also in need of attention and healing. It’s a difficult concept to turn around in an initial consultation with a client/family. They come in focused on an individual and it’s our job to ask them how the problem affects them, the kids, the siblings and what they need. Sometimes families expect us to jump in and do what they have been doing, only do it better! It’s difficult for some individuals to hear that actually, things need to be done differently to get the desired results.

Stabilizing a tumultuous situation

In some cases we run in to health, welfare or safety issues that dictate that all of our attention is directed towards that initially identified individual. Physical, emotional or psychological abuse might be so acute that the trauma of what is happening outweighs the trauma that a traditional intervention might cause. For these situations, it’s even more important that the family/system engages in further work for their own healing and emotional well being after the original mission of stabilizing the initially identified individual is accomplished. The era of families asking us to get their loved one the help they need and then call us when “they are fixed” is coming to a close.

As an organization, we’ve evolved to the point where we really need to be convinced to move that quickly. In most cases, the greater good is served when we slow down and take a more measured and holistic approach while still intervening and getting the individual the help they need. The feedback we are getting from treatment providers validates this approach:

“Your clients come in with both feet in the boat, they are willing from the get-go.”

“We just discovered that your clients are engaged in treatment longer than those from our other referents.”

Healing for the entire family

Yes, we will get the initially identified individual to move forward to receive the help they need. We also want to get involved with assisting the entire family/system to heal and get what they need. Sometimes there is a lot of work to do. Sometimes family dynamics just need a little sprucing up. And every now and then we find that the initially identified individual is the healthiest person in the system!

We love what we do at FRrē. We love looking at and working within families and systems. We find that all problems have a systemic component and when we get involved in the system it is often generational. This is where our passion comes from. Our work ultimately changes the relational trajectory of the whole family/system. It changes the legacy of a family. When we do our job right the real beneficiaries of our work are the yet-unborn members of the family!

Does your family need help getting unstuck from issues around behavioral health or substance use? Call us today for a complimentary consultation.