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The vision lives on

I entered this field as an interventionist, becoming involved with families focused on an initially identified individual. I would facilitate admission to a treatment program and also provide assistance to that individual after treatment. All the while, I was haunted by the lack of attention the family received after that individual was taken to treatment and, in general, […]


The word conjures up different images: An old man on the front porch, a guy in slippers and a bathrobe with a pipe, cruise ships and tropical islands, etc. For me, it will be varied. I have a back deck instead of a front porch and I smoke cigars, not a pipe. I have 7 […]

In the driver’s seat of my recovery: an interview with Dan B.

We recently sat down and talked with Dan B.*, a young man in recovery who used the services of FRrē. He now has goals and a strong foundation for his recovery. What event or events brought your family to FRrē/Marc Hertz Consulting? I was going back to school and things had not been going well […]

How the insights gained during our dynamic family workshop dramatically improved our relationships with one another: a letter to Marc Hertz

Immediate changes We were absolutely thrilled with the workshop. Things practically changed on a dime at our house after our time with you. My husband John was absolutely thrilled and what he called “enlightened” by the experience. He has never read a “self-help” book in his life and we have talked about taking what we […]

Want a quick fix, or an effective fix for behavior health issues?

“The customer is always right! Right?” This expression works great for most organizations providing a service to a client/customer. But what should providers do when the customer is asking for something we know will cost more, take more time and perhaps be less effective? Car mechanics deal with this tension all the time. The customer […]

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 […]

Concerned about a loved one? 5 ways to provide them support over the holidays

The holidays can be stressful for everyone. The stress can be elevated if you have a family member or friend who is in recovery, whether long-term or more recent, and especially if the behavioral issue is ongoing. In this final blog in our three-part series about how to manage holiday stress, we’ll share five tips […]

4 ways to reduce holiday stress

The holidays are a time to show those you love how much you care, by buying gifts (sometimes unnecessarily), creating crafts and elaborate treats, hosting events in your home, saying yes to another get-together with friends or neighbors, and basically “doing it all.” The stress that comes with this can cause extreme exhaustion. Some of […]

6 Tips to Minimize Family Drama During the Holidays

My husband and I were talking about the upcoming holidays and that we were determined to make them “good” again and to try to have a wonderful time with family. This seems to be our conversation most years and no matter what your family situation is, or what your experience has been over the holiday […]

Helping Families Help Their Kids

Faith communities are uniquely positioned to provide parents with resources. Here at FRrē, we partner with churches and spiritual and faith communities to provide resources to families struggling with their relationships in the family system. Often, the issues causing distress center around adolescents and parents. Teenagers today are experiencing a lot of stress, and when […]

What’s in a Name?

There is much discussion in the field of substance use disorder about the stigma associated with the words “addiction” and “alcoholism.” Being old enough to remember when there was no other name for addicts and alcoholics, and the behavioral territory that went with it, it’s easy enough to understand why there is a stigma. In […]

Tips for Schools to Help a Student Struggling with Addiction or Mental Illness

Teachers and counselors have one of the busiest jobs trying to keep track of all of their students, their assignments, tests, attendance, etc. What about their students’ health, physically and mentally? So much emphasis is placed on academic achievement and college prep, I think sometimes the mental wellbeing of the student is lost. Kids today […]

Drinking Around a Loved One in Recovery

As an opiate and cocaine addict in recovery I sometime think, “Oh, those poor alcoholics. How do they do it? Their favorite drug is right in front of them all the time! Billboards on the way home from work, sporting events, TV ads, pictures in magazines and the inevitable social event where everyone else is […]

Young People Do Recover

Hear from a couple that felt lost and were at their wits end. Tim and Sue knew they needed to find help for their son who was struggling. After engaging with the staff at FRrē they quickly realized they needed to heal and grow themselves, before providing that help for their son. They learned more effective […]

A Path to Healing from Addiction

In this video you will experience a family’s story about their journey to recovery and healing. When Chris and Michele first came to FRrē, the goal was to “fix” the problem (in their case, it was to “fix” Chris, the alcoholic). Quickly they learned that working with FRrē meant much more than just getting Chris […]

In Praise of Crisis

In mid-November of 1981 my family gave me a one-way plane ticket from Providence, RI to Minnesota, a 30-day all expenses paid stay at Hazelden, and a stern admonition to not come back. Twenty-nine years old, drinking and drugging daily, no job or other legitimate income, physically and emotionally beat up, rejected by family and […]

Does Treatment Work?

While the war on drugs rages on and the opioid crisis continues to worsen, the arguments continue: Treatment works! Treatment doesn’t work! The “bad science” of the 12-step modality — if addiction is a disease and not a moral dilemma, why is a moral inventory (step four) prescribed? The answer to the last one is […]

Unintended Consequences

When I came to work for Family Recovery Resource Experts in January, I knew a little bit of “therapy lingo,” but not as a licensed practitioner. Coming into the role of marketing and outreach, I began to soak up every little thing I could to be able to convey our message correctly and really understand […]

Why Are You Asking so Many Questions?

As your first point of contact here at FRrē, it is my top priority to ensure you feel comfortable and safe sharing information about the situation you and your loved ones are experiencing. It can be difficult to recount this information. Please understand that my goal in asking questions, some of which may be quite […]

Dynamic Family Workshops

One of the services offered by FRrē is what we call the Dynamic Family Workshop. The workshop is typically a two-day experiential event, although it can be crafted to last anywhere from a half-day to three days. The process begins with the FRrē team gathering information from one family or multiple families to develop the […]

Enabling Negative Behavior

Enabling is a term you hear quite a bit in the recovery community. It comes with a negative connotation. Family and friends are warned not to enable. When I think of enabling, I typically think, “that’s something I should stop” or “enabling is negative.” Enabling, by definition, is to give (someone or something) the authority […]

The God Concept in Alcoholics Anonymous

If you go to a 12-step meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, you’re gonna hear the G word: “God.” I have had clients reject the idea of AA or NA solely because they were atheist and they were uncomfortable or even insulted by the idea that a god would help them with their […]

Why Is Trauma a Four-Letter Word for so Many Men?

“Don’t cry.” “Don’t ask for help.” “Always be in control.” “Don’t display any vulnerability.” “Don’t acknowledge pain.” “Don’t be weak!” In my previous blog post “Why Gender Matters,” we looked at how these messages are communicated to men in a variety of ways throughout the course of their lives. The messages calcify into “rules” that […]

Acceptance Is Key to Family Recovery

About a year ago, at a graduation ceremony for a recovery high school, I heard a story from a mother talking about her experience accepting her daughter’s path down the road of addiction and recovery. It resonated with me so much I remember it clearly even a year later. I want to share a version […]

The Problem with Diagnoses

Recently, I sat with a young client who was convinced her mother is bi-polar. I asked why she thought that and she replied, “Because one moment she’s happy with me and the next she is yelling at me!” This exchange is an example of what I am noticing more often in sessions: people diagnosing themselves […]

Is Addiction a Disease?

A great deal of time, energy and research has been given to the concept of addiction as a disease. Just about every treatment provider talks about a genetic pre-disposition to addiction, but I’ve never heard anyone identify a particular genetic mutation responsible for addiction. In contrast, genetic mutations linked to higher risk for diseases like […]

Avoiding Multiple First Therapy Sessions

Engaging in therapy is not easy. Even when one has arrived at the knowledge that a problem is too great to solve alone, asking for help is tough for even the most courageous among us. If a person can overcome that initial block, the questions that arise can sometimes be even more overwhelming. Does this […]

Losing the War on Drugs

There’s a lot of attention lately on the “opioid epidemic” in America. Opioids were involved in the deaths of more than 42,000 people in 2016. For perspective, car accidents killed about 37,500 and gun violence killed 38,000 in that same year, the most recent year numbers are available. For added perspective, alcohol use leads to […]

Resistance to Change Can Be Overcome

“Change causes stress.” Seems like everyone is on board with this concept. When I’m running a workshop or speaking to families, and I ask, “Does change cause stress?” I always get a resounding, “Yes!” “What about those new experiences that we perceive as positive things?” I ask. “That’s change, too. But where’s the stress?” From […]

You’re Not Crazy, Just Human

As a behavioral health professional, I sometimes find myself wishing I could “cure” people. In fact, sometimes I wish I could cure myself. Then I remember two things: It’s not my job to fix you, it’s yours. “Curing” someone in many cases would mean robbing them of their very humanness.   As human beings we […]

The Evolution of Intervention

I got my start in this field by performing traditional interventions. Once an individual finished treatment, I often worked with them, assisting with navigation into the recovery community while providing a layer of accountability. The lack of attention paid and help given to the families of those struggling with substance use disorder struck me as […]

Why Gender Matters

Following is the first in a series of forthcoming blogs that address the impact of gender on behavioral health care. The very first question posed to an expectant mother is usually, “A boy or a girl?” An avalanche of assumptions begins to develop based on the answer to this question. The process of gender socialization […]

What to Expect When You Reach Out to FRrē

Families are often unsure of their options when they are dealing with issues concerning communication, relationships, mental health, substance use, or other behavioral concerns. The one thing they all have in common is that they are feeling stuck. Whether you are looking for information, are ready to schedule a consultation, or you’re not quite sure […]

A Mother’s Guilt

The night before Valentine’s Day, I arrived home around 6 p.m. After a 40-minute commute, I picked up my three children, made dinner, cleaned up dinner, and supervised the making of a Valentine’s box. Then I painstakingly assisted my youngest child in writing out his classroom Valentines to ensure he spelled each name correctly, per […]

Facing the Storm: Healing the Entire Family System

Interacting with a family member who has a behavioral issue is never easy. Issues with substance use, processes like gambling, acting out sexually, or complicated relationships with food or mental illness can all take a toll on a family. They can take a toll on relationships as well, because the affected individual isn’t the only […]

Non-Linear Recovery: the Connection Between Kintsugi and Wabi-Sabi

Early in my helping career, I succumbed to the idea that the process of individual recovery had a beginning, a middle, and an end goal. I believed the process was linear. This process, I thought, involved the building of insight and awareness, internalizing this newfound awareness to self, then generalizing it to others and our […]

Do Epigenetics Really Influence Our Behavior? Yes.

Epigenetics is a new field that comes with some controversy. As a discipline, epigenetics asserts that some of the experiences that drive our behavior come from our ancestors. While one famous study on the ancestors of Holocaust survivors has confirmed this point of view, other researchers have refuted it. This controversy piqued my interest as […]

Recovery is a Long and Worthwhile Process

Recovery is an elusive term, and one that often isn’t fully understood, even by those in treatment. But no matter how you define it, recovery means a better future for individuals and families.

Family Systems Key to Lasting Recovery

Substance use disorders and mental health issues can affect friends and family just as much as the individual experiencing difficulties. While the focus naturally gravitates towards the individual, effective treatment and recovery involves the entire family system. This is why Family Recovery Resource Experts puts family systems at the heart of everything we do, bringing […]

Trauma’s Impact on Families Can’t Be Overlooked

Very few among us will go through life without experiencing some sort of trauma. As uncomfortable as it is, it remains part of our human existence. But while trauma may be unavoidable, our responses to that trauma are what matter most. By examining the ways in which we react to trauma both as individuals and […]

The Impact of Addiction on my Family

I was at a 12-step meeting the other night and the topic was “consequences.” I heard some pretty intense stuff in regard to the consequences of active addiction. After 25 years of active recovery, I’ve had time to reflect on my own consequences. I was able to resolve some pretty serious legal issues and a […]

Women Face Unique Challenges in Addiction Recovery

From outside influences telling them they have to be perfect to inside motivations to shut out emotions, young women face a number of unique challenges when seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. It’s critical to break down barriers and empower women to embrace themselves and their own recovery. A return to vulnerability Often, women […]

Addiction Recovery for Young Men

Young men face numerous challenges when entering recovery that often inhibit them from accepting help. These challenges are both emotional and environmental, but it’s important to acknowledge and address these issues if we are to help young men find long-term recovery. Primary challenges for addiction recovery If I had to pick one key feature that […]

A Child’s Role in Family Recovery

Addiction is a family disease. When one family member has a substance use disorder, it affects everyone else in the family, including children. As unintended victims, many children do not receive the mental health care they need to help process their situation while maintaining healthy relationships and a strong sense of self-worth. At Family Recovery […]

Healing Addiction’s Wounds in Relationships

Relationships are often the first victims of substance abuse or active addiction. Through the addiction recovery process and family counseling at Family Recovery Resource Experts, families learn to repair those relationships and form stronger bonds with those closest to them. But in order to create those healthy relationships, we must first address the wounds that […]

Family Relationships Can Hold the Key to Change

Relationships between family members are often tested more frequently and more fiercely than any other relationships in our lives. The trials of life can push those bonds to the brink and strain our feelings of love and compassion. But for someone struggling with addiction or another behavioral health issue, family ties can be among the […]

Overcoming Labels and the Shame They Create

Many think of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction as a physical and emotional process for only the individual with “the problem.” Creating the important healing within families starts with the language used toward one another. Although language may seem to pale in comparison to the physical grip of addiction, the words used among a […]

Solutions-Based Approach to Family Therapy

Families are often stuck by the cluster of behaviors they see in a loved one dealing with substance abuse. Being able to point to a diagnosis that can explain everything can feel like a relief. The truth is, however, that a diagnosis-based philosophy to recovery often prevents families from moving forward and solving the underlying […]

A New Brand, a New Take on Family Intervention

Every interventionist says they like working with families. When I started in this field as an interventionist and recovery coach, I felt the same way. I still do, perhaps more so now than ever. But my understanding of how intervention—and recovery—work within the family system has evolved over the years, and Marc Hertz Consulting has […]

A Focus on Shared Goals Helps Families Recover from Addiction

Here’s a scenario that might ring familiar: Someone in your inner circle is suffering from addiction. Everyone close to this person can see it, but there’s no consensus on how to proceed. Some are quick to discuss the illness with each other, while others want to wish it away. Some want to confront the person […]

What Do I Do Now that my Loved One is in Treatment?

After your loved one has started treatment for substance use disorder, families often experience both confusion and hope. You may have no idea how you have unwittingly contributed to the problem, or whether you’re part of the problem at all. You and your family are all engaged in an intricate social dance, and everyone is […]

Five Ways to Support Your Family as a Loved One Enters Treatment

Your loved one has finally agreed to enter treatment for addiction or mental health issues. If they’re going to in-patient treatment, you’re ready to drop them off at the facility. If it’s an outpatient program, they’ve got the start date marked on the calendar. While you may be relieved that they’re taking this important step, […]

Answers to Your Questions as Your Loved One Enters Treatment

Once a person with substance use disorder or behavioral or mental health issues decides to enter treatment, family members often feel a sense of relief. They’ve been spinning around in a circle, not knowing what to do. Now the unknown is becoming the reality. There’s a path forward. However, in most families, new issues and […]

How Gender-Informed Treatment Helps Men Recover from Trauma

Rob Rodriguez, the latest addition to the Marc Hertz therapeutic team, has been involved in facilitating trauma-specific healing for men struggling to overcome trauma brought about by troubling childhood experiences. Tyler Reitzner, director of marketing and outreach, discusses with Rob the importance of gender-informed modalities in treating substance use disorders and behavioral health issues. Tyler: […]

How Substance Use Disorders in the Family Traumatize Children

Our newest addition to the team, Rob Rodriguez, discusses the impact of substance use disorders on kids—whether they’re the ones using or not. Marc Hertz Consulting is thrilled to announce that Rob Rodriguez, family recovery therapist, has joined our team of behavioral health experts. With more than a decade of experience in the field of […]

Dynamic Family Services Provide Hope for Families in an Addiction Crisis

When a family in crisis from addiction decides they are ready to seek help, it’s usually because they feel stuck. They’ve tried everything that has made sense to them and the situation hasn’t gotten better. In fact, often times it becomes worse. Not only is the person with the issue possibly in real danger, but […]

Minimizing Damage from a Substance Use Disorder Crisis in the Family

How we handle a crisis is as important as dealing with the issue itself. This is especially true when a family is dealing with a substance use disorder. Of course, the primary aim is to stabilize the situation. That can mean getting someone into treatment, getting them medically stabilized or possibly performing an intervention. But […]

What to Expect When You Seek Crisis Counseling

Dynamic Family Services include care for the whole family, not just the person with a substance use disorder. There’s a parable in the drug and alcohol recovery community that sums up the experience of a family dealing with a loved one’s addiction. They’ve been hiding in the basement while a tornado rips through, damaging their […]

Is This a Crisis?

It might take an outside viewpoint to recognize behavioral health dysfunction in your family. There’s a saying about a frog jumping into a pot of water on the stove. As the water heats up, the frog continually adjusts to the new temperature until he’s being boiled alive. Families dealing with addiction or behavioral health problems […]

Why is My Loved One Acting This Way?

For family members of people with addictive behaviors, the why questions are difficult to reconcile. Trauma-informed care can provide answers. It’s a question almost everyone who’s been touched by addiction asks: Why? Why does my daughter abuse alcohol but my son, raised in the same household with the same biological parents, doesn’t? Why does my […]

Family-Focused Recovery Starts with Family Members

Taking care of yourself when your loved one is suffering is critical to healing your family. For family members concerned that a loved one is reaching a crisis with their behavioral health, the idea of focusing on caretaking themselves can seem laughable. Family members are often consumed by what can feel like—and sometimes is—a battle […]

Control Versus Influence

Family-focused recovery helps people positively influence their addicted loved ones, but not through trying to control them. We had a client recently who was the father of a teenaged son. The dad was worried because he suspected the son was smoking pot and maybe experimenting with other drugs. We decided not to confront the boy […]

Worried a Loved One is Facing Addiction? Trust Your Intuition

Family members of people with addiction or mental illness should listen to that inner voice telling them something’s not right. By Marc Hertz Something is going on with your loved one, and you suspect alcohol, drugs or mental illness may be the cause. Maybe something obvious has happened, like you’ve found a stash of empty […]

Trauma-informed recovery focus for families in 2016

We’ve made a lot of progress in family-focused recovery in 2015, but more work remains. Closing out 2015, I’ve been reflecting on what we’ve seen from the needs of our clients over this year. The biggest lesson has been that families dealing with behavioral health issues—whether before a crisis hits, during the crisis, or after […]

Existing in Relationships

Family-focused recovery acknowledges the power of relationships in the healing process. The way we focus on most problems is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. That means that when an individual—for example an adult child in a family—is suffering from addiction or mental illness, the focus is on them. The problem is, we exist […]

Opioid Addiction Treatment is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Families struggling with a loved one’s opioid addiction need help sorting through the options and finding the one that’s best for their situation. When we talk about the opioid epidemic and opioid addiction, the stereotype we often have is of a street junkie. The truth is, every addict is different and opiate addiction comes in […]

The Trauma-Addiction Connection

Leading-edge treatment providers are pioneering solutions that address trauma. An old associate of mine who had many years of experience in the addiction recovery field used to say, “90 percent of all the women and 40 percent of the men who come through chemical dependency treatment have significant trauma. The only difference is that the […]

A Good Ending to a Traditional Intervention

Jen Stowe describes the second part of an intervention on a heroin-addicted young woman. Note: this is the second of a two-part series describing a real-life traditional intervention on a heroin-addicted young woman. Jessica is not her real name.

How a Traditional Intervention Works

Marc Hertz describes the first stage of a recent traditional intervention for a heroin-addicted young woman. This is the first in a two-part series describing a real-life traditional intervention. For part two, click here. By Marc Hertz The family called us at noon and said they had a very sick heroin – and methadone-addicted daughter, […]

Family Intervention Guides Loved Ones to Look at Themselves

For addiction and mental health issues, a traditional intervention isn’t always best. Sometimes a collaborative intervention is called for. It’s a typical scenario: A family comes to an addiction interventionist and says, “We found pot in our 16-year-old son’s closet.” That’s a scary moment for parents, and their fears can quickly overwhelm them: What if […]

New Blog Exploring Family-Focused Recovery

Welcome to the new blog for Marc Hertz Consulting and FRrē. In a bid to communicate the latest innovations in family-focused recovery, we want to bring you our thinking on a regular basis. So we hope you see this blog as a resource to help your family on its journey of recovery from chemical dependency […]

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