Life Works’ family programme
The Life Works family programme is a non-residential programme that we offer to our clients and their immediate family or loved ones. The programme runs for one or two days every fortnight, and is available to individuals who are receiving treatment for at least 28 days. The purpose of the family programme is to increase honest communication between all parties involved, enabling them to discuss things that have happened in the past, what they want for the future, and how they can support each other moving forwards.
Clients are able to select three people to be involved in the family programme. Usually, these people consist of clients’ parents, siblings, spouses and partners. However, the individuals selected to attend the family programme don’t have to be family members – clients can invite anyone who has been directly impacted by their addiction or eating disorder, including friends and even work colleagues.
The family programme is facilitated by a highly experienced therapist and sessions typically focus on exploring interpersonal dynamics between the client and their family/friends/loved ones in order to increase individuals’ awareness of their own and others’ feelings. The sessions also aim to explore how the person’s family members and friends may be unknowingly enabling or perpetuating their addiction or eating disorder.
Communication and understanding
In the family programme, we work to help our clients and their chosen participants learn to communicate and understand each other once again. Addictions, eating disorders and co-occurring mental health problems can destroy or damage trust, friendship and lines of communication. By providing a safe, non-judgemental place to share, we can help families to rebuild relationships, start an open and honest dialogue and establish news ways of relating to one another. This means tearing down things like withdrawal, fearful exchanges, unvoiced feelings or wishes, and most of all, the feeling that you have not been heard. These problems are replaced with healthy communication and allow our clients to create a great support network for when they leave treatment.
The purpose of the family programme
When people leave treatment in recovery they are ready to start their new life, but reintegrating with family and friends can be tough. Loved ones are used to how someone behaved before treatment, as well as how their relationship used to be. That means when someone comes home after recovery, their expectations and the expectations of their family and friends can be very different.
At Life Works, our family programme helps people to understand and prepare for the new relationship dynamics. It also helps everyone involved to address any fears or concerns they may have. This makes it easier when a person leaves treatment for them to have a happy and healthy relationship with their loved ones. The programme allows individuals and their families to:
- Develop healthy ways of communicating feelings and needs
- Understand, set and maintain healthy boundaries
- Develop or renew intimacy in family relationships
- Heal debilitating shame, nurturing the individual within the family
- Overcome past pain that impedes family fulfilment
How to get involved in our family programme
The family programme is available to anyone who is currently receiving treatment and support at Life Works, with the following criteria applicable:
- Individuals are completing a residential stay of at least 28 days
- Only family and friends over the age of 18 will be able to attend
- Family and friends must agree to attend the entire programme
There may be other additional factors impacting on who can take part in the family programme, depending on clients’ individual needs. For full details, please call us today on 0800 081 0700 or complete our short enquiry form.
The three elements of the family programme
The family programme is built around three core components: education, group work and wrap-up. You can read more about each below:
- Education – through lectures and presentations, people in the family programme learn to spot the problems in their relationships which have arisen as a result of the client’s presentation. At the same time, Life Works’ staff teach them how to resolve these problems so they can have happier and more fulfilling relationships
- Group work – families share their fears, anger and other problems with one another in a blame-free environment. Each person gets a chance to share until all the problems are out ‘on the table’. Through the examination of these problems and past experiences, clients and their families are empowered to use past problems to put together future solutions. The group therapy dynamic helps everyone to gain and offer forgiveness, feel safe and build a foundation for a better future
- Wrap-up – in the final portion of the family programme, participants review their new communication skills and learn how to implement their new coping strategies. This helps families to develop safe, loving and healthy relationships. The wrap-up is also an opportunity for families and individuals to explore the issues that will be encountered when the client returns home. Examples may include families agreeing to avoid 'walking on eggshells' at home or avoid having any taboo subjects. This enables families and clients to understand how they are going to manage the recovery process
This page was reviewed by Steve Clarke, Hospital Director, (MSc, NCFED) in 2019 and is scheduled to be reviewed again in 2021.