At CMC, we know that family and friends of those who struggle with substance use disorders also struggle, emotionally, physically, and financially. We also know that you are in an incredibly powerful position to help!

As researchers and clinicians, we’ve seen plenty of evidence over the past 50 years that families and friends, above all, make a difference. We know that people who have substance problems get better and that family members—parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, partners, anyone who loves someone who struggles—can affect their loved one’s motivation to change without using the traditional methods of confrontation, tough love, or letting them hit bottom.

We teach family members practical strategies to motivate change. We will share science-based understanding of substance use, and help you create an environment where your loved one is motivated to reduce or discontinue their use, and where the heat, friction, frustration, and feelings of helplessness you may be living with now are significantly reduced. We will help you learn to communicate better with your loved one and support healthy and non-using behaviors while at the same time taking better care of yourself.

CMC is a leader in the field when it comes to helping families. We have championed cutting-edge, evidence-based approaches to helping families for decades and wrote an award-winning book on the subject. At CMC, our clinicians are trained in Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) as well as our Invitation to Change® (ITC).

You may have been told that there is nothing you can do to help the one you love, or that the best thing for you to do is to take a back seat…

Many family members are told to detach and use “tough love.

You may be confused about your loved one’s behaviors, or may even be starting to lose hope that you will be able to help…

Many people who love someone with a substance use disorder feel confused about their role in helping.

You may believe that caring for your loved one is furthering the problem…

But, the research evidence is clear: whether the person you love has just started engaging in substance use or has been doing so for years, you have the power to help.

Let us help you use science and kindness to bring about positive change, for your loved one and yourself.

What is an
Invitation to Change
?

The Invitation to Change Approach® draws from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Therapy), MI (Motivational Interviewing), and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to empower loved ones with a new understanding of substance use.

With a skills-oriented, compassionate outlook, the Invitation to Change Approach® works to reduce shame and stigma, while providing tools to foster growth and promote change.

Behaviors Make Sense

Open the door to change by viewing your loved one’s substance use through a new lens.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

The path to change is different for everybody - there is no one ‘right’ way to help!

Ambivalence is Normal

It’s normal for new behaviors to compete with the old, even as you move toward change.

Communication Tools

Collaborative communication is key to supporting change in your loved one.

Behavior Tools

Grow positive behaviors and reduce negative ones with evidence-based strategies.

Self Awareness

What are your values and emotions? How can you bring them into the process of change?

Willingness

Move toward what is important while accepting the difficult feelings that come with change.

Self Compassion

Take care of yourself! Acknowledge your needs throughout this process.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Change won’t happen in a day - it takes time, and effort, and practice!

More About the Science

Invitation to Change® (ITC) draws key strategies from three evidence-based treatments: CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training), MI (Motivational Interviewing), and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). With a compassionate outlook and a practical plan, ITC will help you take better care of yourself and help your struggling loved one.

ITC includes all the components of Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), a behavioral and motivational treatment for families of people with substance problems developed by Dr. Robert J. Meyers and Dr. Jane Ellen Smith. CRAFT has been studied extensively in randomized controlled trials across socioeconomic and ethnic groups and situations, including varying familial relationships and types of substances, and has been found to be more effective than traditional approaches such as Al-Anon and interventions. CRAFT teaches families and friends effective strategies for helping their loved one change and improving their own wellbeing. CRAFT works to influence your loved one’s behavior by changing the way your family interacts with them. It is designed to accomplish three goals:

  1. Help families move their loved one toward treatment when they are refusing.
  2. Reduce the use of drugs and alcohol by the person struggling, whether or not they have engaged in treatment yet.
  3. Improve the lives of concerned family and friends.


In clinical trials, CRAFT was successful in engaging treatment in 64 – 74% of cases, and families reported significant improvements in their own happiness and sense of family cohesion as well as reduced anxiety, depression, and anger. The individuals studied also significantly reduced substance use, regardless of whether they entered treatment.

CRAFT shows you how to positively and incrementally reinforce abstinence or steps toward change. It recognizes family members as powerful collaborators in this process.

ITC also includes key elements of Motivational Interviewing (MI), a short-term treatment approach that concentrates on improving and strengthening an individual’s motivation to change. MI creates a respectful, empathic environment that invites change instead of demanding it, as it helps people see their own reasons for change. ITC shows you how to use these skills to improve communication with your loved one and motivate them to consider and sustain positive change.

Finally, ITC incorporates several elements of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a treatment approach that employs acceptance and mindfulness strategies, alongside commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. These strategies help you live in the present moment with your emotions, experiences, and values, so that you can better help your loved one and yourself.

Family Services at CMC

Our clinicians work with concerned friends and family members of all types: spouses/partners, parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.
Edit

Many family members appreciate and benefit from having their own space to discuss their loved one’s situation and how to be a positive influence. During the initial assessment with one of our therapists, we will learn about your family, your loved one, and the dynamics at play. From there, we will make specific suggestions about how CRAFT and ITC can help you and your loved one and connect you with an ongoing therapist at CMC for continued work. Many people come in weekly for a period of time and then as needed for coaching and/or tuning up their skills.

Edit

Concerned family members and friends work with a CMC therapist trained in CRAFT and ITC. We recommend weekly sessions at first to jumpstart the learning curve. However, we individualize treatment to the specific needs of each family, which can mean more or less frequent sessions, or the option to work with a therapist for a longer period of time.

Edit

Our monthly family member group is offered by our director of family services, Dr. Nicole Kosanke. This is an opportunity for family members to learn about a specific ITC-related topic and to share their experiences, ask questions, and discuss helpful strategies. Groups are held on the first Monday of the month, 5:30 – 7pm (click here for details and to sign up in advance). Come monthly or when the topic is of particular interest.