Working with families struggling with addiction can be challenging, inspiring, interesting and very rewarding.
In the groups that I facilitate, parents join us on the third and fourth days of the program. This adds a whole new element to our process, as the adult group tends to be more diverse than the kids.
We work with parents who are just new to recovery, grandparents raising their grandchildren, non-using parents, and sometimes caregivers who have a long period of sobriety under their belt.
Addicted and non-addicted people alike sit across from each other, share their struggles, receive some education and offer support to one another.
This week Elizabeth Devine, the clinical coordinator at the Betty Ford Five Star Kids Children's Program wrote a great article about dynamics in the parent group titled The Challenges and Benefits of Group Work With Addicted and Non-Addicted Parents.
Elizabeth is an excellent facilitator and has been doing this work for many years. Her article covers the complexity of a typical parent group. With all of the different dynamics that occur in a group like this, it can be easy and tempting for facilitators to lose focus and become sidetracked. Elizabeth breaks it down to three key points when working with parents and other caregivers. These points keep the focus on the purpose of the program - helping children and families heal.
For more information and articles for professionals, check out the Betty Ford Children's Program Planting Seeds publication.