Integrating Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy
A new practical guide from SAMHSA offers advice on how substance
abuse treatment counselors and family therapists can
understand and incorporate each other's methods and theories.
Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy,
SAMHSA's Treatment Improvement Protocol 39 (TIP 39),
addresses how substance abuse affects the entire family
and how treatment providers can use family therapy principles
to improve communications and interactions among family
members. The TIP series is produced by SAMHSA's Center
for Substance Abuse Treatment.
Although family therapy has a solid history within the
mental health field, substance abuse treatment developed
in isolation. Prior to the 1970s, many alcoholism counselors
rejected the widely held view among mental health experts
that alcohol abuse was a symptom of some underlying disorder
rather than a primary disorder of its own account. Over
the years, however, practitioners in both fields have
developed an understanding of the synergy between the
services provided by substance abuse treatment providers
and family therapists.
TIP 39 presents models, techniques, and principles of
family therapy, along with special attention to stages
of motivation and to treatment and recovery. Discussion
also focuses on clinical decision-making and training,
supervision, cultural considerations, specific populations,
funding, and science-based research. This TIP also identifies
future directions for both research and clinical practice.
Six chapters are included in the publication. Chapter
1, Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy,
introduces the changing definition of "family," explores
the evolution of the field of family therapy and the
primary models of family therapy, presents concepts from
the substance abuse treatment field, and discusses the
effectiveness and cost benefits of family therapy.
Chapter 2, Impact of Substance Abuse on Families,
describes social issues that coexist with substance abuse
in families and offers recommendations for ways to address
Chapter 3, Approaches to Therapy, examines
differences in family therapy and substance abuse treatment
services. One section, directed at substance abuse treatment
counselors, provides basic information about the models,
approaches, and concepts in family therapy. Another section,
for family therapists, provides basic information about
theory, treatment modalities, and the role of 12-step
programs in substance abuse treatment.
Chapter 4, Integrated Models for Treating Family
Members, discusses conjoined treatment approaches
as well as matching therapeutic techniques to recovery
Chapter 5, Specific Populations, provides
background information about substance abuse treatment
for various populations, based on characteristics such
as age, gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation,
and the presence of physical or cognitive disabilities
or co-occurring disorders. This chapter also describes
applications to family therapy for each population.
Chapter 6, Policy and Program Issues,
presents information for administrators and trainers
about the importance of improving services to families
and some policy implications to consider for effectively
joining family therapy and substance abuse treatment.
In addition, this final chapter discusses program planning
models that provide a framework for including family
therapy in substance abuse treatment.
Appendices to TIP 39 include resources, guidelines for
assessing violence, a bibliography, a glossary, and lists
of panelists and field reviewers involved in producing
For a copy of TIP 39, Substance Abuse Treatment
and Family Therapy, contact SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse
for Alcohol and Drug Information at P.O. Box 2345, Rockville,
MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686 (English and
Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). For an electronic
version of this TIP, visit SAMHSA's Web site at www.samhsa.gov.
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