CRAFT Therapy: Supporting Recovery and Healthy Relationships for Substance Use Disorders
Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a therapy that helps family members and loved ones of those with substance use disorders (SUDs) to support and motivate their loved ones to seek and maintain recovery. This therapy has been effective in treating SUDs and helping families build healthy relationships and improve their quality of life.
The primary goal of CRAFT is to increase the likelihood of the person with the SUD to seek and continue treatment, while also helping the family members to improve their communication and relationships. CRAFT is an evidence-based intervention that incorporates behavioral, motivational, and communication techniques to help family members.
CRAFT Therapy: Boundaries and Positive Reinforcement for Substance Use Disorders
One of the main features of CRAFT is that it encourages family members to avoid enabling the person with the SUD. Enabling behaviors can include covering up for the person, making excuses for them, and bailing them out of negative consequences. CRAFT teaches family members to set limits and boundaries that are focused on the person's behavior and the consequences that result from it, rather than on the person themselves.
Another important aspect of CRAFT is its emphasis on positive reinforcement. CRAFT encourages family members to reinforce positive behaviors and choices that the person with the SUD makes. This positive reinforcement can include praise, rewards, and acknowledgement for efforts made towards recovery.
Effective Communication and Engagement: The Benefits of CRAFT Therapy for Families Dealing with Substance Use Disorders
CRAFT also focuses on helping family members to improve their communication skills. This can involve teaching family members to use "I" statements instead of "you" statements, which can help to reduce defensiveness and conflict. Additionally, CRAFT teaches family members to listen actively and to validate the person's feelings, even if they do not agree with their choices.
CRAFT has been shown to be an effective intervention for families dealing with SUDs. In fact, research has shown that CRAFT is more effective than other interventions, such as Al-Anon or tough love approaches, in engaging the person with the SUD in treatment.
Strengthening Families and Supporting Recovery: The Comprehensive Benefits of CRAFT Therapy for Substance Use Disorders
Additionally, CRAFT has been shown to improve the overall functioning of families. Family members who participate in CRAFT report improved communication and relationships, decreased distress, and increased feelings of hope and empowerment. This is because CRAFT is designed to support the entire family system, not just the person with the SUD.
Overall, CRAFT is an evidence-based intervention that can be a powerful tool for families dealing with SUDs. It encourages family members to avoid enabling behaviors, reinforces positive choices and behaviors, and teaches effective communication skills. By supporting the entire family system, CRAFT can help to improve relationships, reduce stress, and increase the likelihood of successful recovery for the person with the SUD. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, consider exploring CRAFT as a potential resource for support and healing.
Beyond Addiction Book
This book, Beyond Addiction, is an excellent resource for family members struggling with their loved one's substance use. The foreword, reproduced below, is particularly encouraging. Please send an email today if you have questions about your loved one's addiction or want to start CRAFT services. firstname.lastname@example.org
"I can personally attest to the pain and suffering caused by having a family member who abuses alcohol or drugs. I came from one of those families and I understand the anguish firsthand. As my father's out-of-control drinking continued, I also witnessed my mother suffering incredible pain. As a result of her frustrations, my brother and I also suffered. My mother passed away at the young age of forty-five. It is because of this troubled history that I carved out my path of investigating humane and positive ways to help substance users and family members. My early years in the field brought me to the stark reality that there was no reliable or reasonable treatment for family members at the time. "Family Days" at treatment centers typically centered around viewing a film on the effects of alcohol.
'The addiction field as a whole has struggled to find effective ways to help distraught family members. During my long tenure in the substance abuse filed, I developed a program called Community Reinforcement and Family Training. CRAFT is designed specifically to empower family members. It teaches them how to take control of their lives, and as part of this process to change their interactions with the substance user in ways that promote positive behavioral change. Clinical trials on CRAFT have shown that when family members use these positive, supportive, nonconfrontational techniques, not only do they find ways to get their loved one into treatment, but the family members themselves feel better- specifically showing decreases in depression, anger, anxiety, and medical problems- when they participate in CRAFT. Clinical trials also have shown that the family members benefit emotionally even if their loved one does not enter treatment.
'We believe this book will have a huge positive impact on the addiction community, beginning with therapists and researchers. But we also hope it opens the eyes of directors, legislators, and families to a novel way of thinking about how to approach and address the family's substance use problem."
- Robert J. Meyers, PhD, and Jane Ellen Smith, PhD
To read more or access the book: https://motivationandchange.com/family-services/resources-for-families/