Tag Archives: Family & Friends

Power of Positive Reinforcement

Posted on March 24, 2015

A note on “enabling” vs. positive reinforcement
~Jeffrey Foote, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

“Caring about and staying connected in a helping way with someone dealing
with substances is not only helpful, it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change.”

Positive ReinforcementIf you are a partner, parent, or child of someone struggling with substance problems, and you live in America, you’ve probably heard this word “enabling” (possibly many, many times). And you’ve probably heard this described as central to your interactions in helping your loved one. Mostly, you have heard “DON’T DO IT”!, and if you are like most concerned family members, you feel vaguely guilty for doing something you’re not even sure you are doing (but you must be, right?). By way of quick review, “enabling” actually means doing positive things that will end up supporting continued negative behavior, such as providing your child with money so they won’t “go hungry” during the day, knowing they use it to buy pot, or going to talk to the teacher to make sure they don’t get a bad grade, even though their bad test score was due to drinking, or calling your husband’s work to explain he’s sick today, when he’s actually hung over. These are examples of doing something “nice” for your loved one that actually (from a behavioral reinforcement standpoint) might increase the frequency of the negative behavior, not decrease it. The logic: if they act badly, and nothing happens, or something good happens, this behavior is encouraged, even if what you are doing is “nice”. This IS enabling, and this is not helpful in changing behavior in a positive direction.

But everything nice is not enabling! And that’s the quicksand we have developed in our culture. Staying connected, rewarding positive behaviors with positivity, being caring and loving; these things are critical to positive change. So what’s the difference? Continue reading

Webinar: Helping Loved Ones Get Sober

Posted on March 17, 2015

Dr. Robert Meyers, and Dr. Jeffrey Foote discuss the “CRAFT approach”
Hosted by Dr. Tom Horvath, President, SMART Recovery
podcast

SMART Recovery announces a new Webinar on how the Family & Friends of those with addiction can help those they love, while remaining sane and safe.

The foremost experts in this field today, Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D., creator of CRAFT and Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D., Director, Center for Motivation & Change  will join Tom Horvath, Ph.D., President of SMART Recovery to discuss “The CRAFT approach: How science, combined with compassion, can make a difference”.

As family members or friends, our intimate connection should make us natural allies. However, we often don’t know how to talk with each other or work together when it comes to the emotionally intense issue of addiction.

SMART believes that Family & Friends deserve high-quality, compassionate and optimistic support of their own. We know it is possible to get sober. We believe families are not powerless, that they can help, without becoming codependent, resorting to tough love or enabling. The tools of SMART and CRAFT work beautifully to encourage healthy, productive efforts towards an improved quality of life for all. SMART has been working to create a rich Family & Friends program that includes a vibrant online community, its own Handbook, and both online and face-to-face meetings. We invite you to learn more at http://www.smartrecovery.org/family

Meet the Presenters: Continue reading

Support for Family & Friends

Posted on March 10, 2015

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
Reviewed by Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.

Get Your Loved One SoberTo help people seeking sobriety for their loved ones, Get Your Loved One Sober offers a revolutionary program: The Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) intervention. The subtitle, “Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening” more aptly describes what this book is about. Getting a loved one into treatment is not the first goal. Arranging for one’s own safety and finding a happier life independent of the drinker’s situation, takes priority. Getting a loved one to moderate, choose sobriety, or go into treatment, are offered as roads to a better relationship.

Still, CRAFT can boast phenomenal success getting people into treatment. An alternative to Al-Anon’s 12-Step tradition and “detachment” recommendations and the Johnson Institute’s confrontational interventions, the CRAFT program is based on non-confrontational behavioral principles like reinforcement. It gives the reader tools and instructions for changing their interactions with their loved ones, which in turn changes the loved one’s behavior. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT proved twice as likely as the Johnson Intervention and six times as likely as Al-Anon to get loved ones into treatment.

Continue reading

Supporting Recovery Without Enabling

Posted on October 28, 2014

In Epidemics, Hippocrates said, “Make a habit of two things–to help, or at least to do no harm.” How can we apply that idea to helping family and friends with addictions?

When we care about individuals who are trying to overcome addictions, we often face dilemmas in how best to help them. For instance, if I help someone by providing money for some critical need, am I supporting recovery by preventing some degree of “disaster”? Or am I just shielding the person from negative consequences that might motivate lasting behavior change? The latter, of course, is AKA the E word: Enabling.  This article will identify some things to consider when you face that kind of decision.

What is support? I suggest that support, at its root, consists of two things: paying attention and active helping. I could pay attention to a friend who wants to quit smoking by listening to her talk about her cravings to smoke and how she copes with these cravings. I could actively help her by informing her of new tobacco cessation products (if she was unfamiliar with them). I could take her to a SMART Recovery® meeting (especially if she felt awkward going alone), or spend a non-smoking evening with her  (when her other options were to be alone or be with smokers).

Continue reading

5 Tips for Building a Strong Support Network

Posted on July 1, 2014

How to help your potential support system really be helpful
~Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

Support for RecoveryMany people start using substances (often as teens) as a way to engage socially.  The reality is that almost all substances with abuse potential initially have a “social lubrication” effect (i.e., they are dis-inhibiting, relaxing, anxiety-reducing, buffers to self-criticism, enhancers of pleasure, etc).  The problem?  Further down the road (and sometimes right out of the gates), use patterns become much more solitary, withdrawn and isolated.  Many have suffered through conflicts with family and friends and, by the time they seek treatment, feel disconnected from potential supporters of change.  In addition, to break the destructive patterns that are in place when they seek treatment, they have to distance themselves from current friends who engage in the same behavior (party pals etc).  The reality of “loss”…that is the loss of the relationship with the substance and with the people around it…and the awareness of distance from potentially supportive family and friends makes the early stages of change very hard to tolerate at times.
Research has shown time and again that having a robust support network can significantly reduce the odds of relapse Continue reading

Webinar: Beyond Addiction

Posted on May 13, 2014

“How Science and Kindness Help People Change”
with Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D., Center for Motivation and Change
podcast


Beyond Addiction

“[We want to] change the conversation, from the language of stigma to the language of growth; from defects to strengths, from shame to pride and an open heart; from punishment and confrontation to an invitation to truly change. And to change that conversation, we rely on science and kindness.”


May 17, 2014 4:00pm ET :
Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D., joins SMART Recovery to present:
Beyond Addiction, How Science and Kindness Help People Change:

  • The Center for Motivation and Change’s (CMC) approach to helping families, including CRAFT;
  • CMC’s best new tools for families wishing to support a loved one’s recovery;
  • Beyond Addiction, by Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D., Carrie Wilkens, Ph.D., Nicole Kosanke, Ph.D., and Stephanie Higgs;
  • The 20-Minute Guide – For Parents and Partners

The event will be held in our online Go-to-Training Room. There is no cost to attend the event but advanced registration is required.

Related Posts:
Power of Positive Reinforcement
Help for Families


Beyond AddictionAbout the speaker: Dr. Foote is a nationally recognized clinical research scientist who has received extensive federal grant funding for his work on motivational treatment approaches. Dr. Foote has worked in the addiction treatment field as a clinician and researcher since the late 1980s, and has developed a unique motivational treatment approach that incorporates principles of group treatment as well as research-based principles of human behavior change.

In 2004, Dr. Foote opened the Center for Motivation and Change with his partner, Dr. Carrie Wilkens. CMC’s mission is to provide evidence-based treatments to help people change their substance use and compulsive behaviors while providing a warm and therapeutic atmosphere. CMC is built on the belief and optimism that people can change.

Previously, Dr. Foote was the Deputy Director of the Division of Alcohol Treatment and Research at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in NYC, as well as a Senior Research Associate at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) in NYC. Dr. Foote also served as Chief of the Smithers Addiction Treatment and Research Center as well as Director of Evaluation and Research between 1994 and 2001. Dr. Foote was also team Psychologist for the New York Mets. Continue reading