Family Empowerment Program
The hallmark of the SELF Therapeutic Community approach is its insistence that the entire family participate in the healing process. The SELF approach of addressing both dependency and codependency seeks to spark a synergistic process that promotes a healthy relationship between residents and their families, so they can build on each other’s strengths and buttress each others shortcomings. The establishment of the healing process in families greatly enhances the chances of successful recovery. Toward this end, families undergo a parallel Empowerment Program that informs, educates and supports them throughout the entire treatment and rehabilitation of their loved ones.
The Family Association Meeting (FAM) is the lead component of the Family Empowerment Program. It is conducted every first Saturday of the month and is a required activity for families. In the FAM, they undergo a set schedule of activities that seek to:
1) Educate them about substance and non-substance dependencies.
2) Enlighten them about the principles and methods of the TC program.
3) Familiarize them with their role in relapse prevention.
4) Promote recovery from Codependency that prevails in most afflicted families.
Family Intervention is also a key component. During the Primary Phase of the TC program, the Clinical Department conducts three different kinds of sessions with the families in the facility: Family Counseling, Family Encounter, and Family Dialogue. These sessions teach families how to confront and resolve issues that impede the development of healthy relationships.
Codependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. Codependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior and it can be passed down from one generation to another. Codependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with a “dependency” problem. While originally used to describe partners in chemical dependency or persons living with an addicted person, similar patterns of behavior have been seen in people in relationships with mentally disadvantaged individuals.
Enabling behavior — the giving of “help” even when it actually makes the problem worse — is at the core of codependency. Because it begins as a way to protect the dependent from harm, codependents often do not realize when they have already become part of the problem. Over the long term, codependency not only reinforces the addictive behavior, it hinders the possibility of recovery.
Families in Denial
Not only addicts deny that they have a problem. Families also go in denial. This occurs when family members do not see or refuse to admit that the behaviors of their loved one is causing significant health, work, school, relationship and financial problems. It is even harder to accept that they themselves may contribute to the problem. While it is a defense mechanism that makes the problem easier to live with, the denial of a loved one’s addictive behavior never helps for it often gets to the point that the physical and mental health of family members is impaired.