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The Family Systemic Model of Intervention

Much has been talked about the Johnson model of intervention in this blog which is similar to the A&E program Intervention. There are other options of intervention, one of them being the Family Systemic Model. A Family Systemic Model is a way that an entire family can truly heal from an addiction as a whole if the family is involved with the treatment. The ultimate goal of the Family Systemic Model is the entire family will become motivated to seek treatment for themselves and to teach them the following healthy traits:

Communicating in a healthy way




Family Systemic Model vs Johnson Model of Intervention

There are five basic points of a Family Systemic Model, which takes a regular intervention and gives a twist, focusing on the entire family along with the addict. A normal intervention has five points that basically describe what goes on. These five points include:

·         All meetings prior to the intervention only involve the family members. The addict is not told about the intervention.

·         The intervention occurs only once – this is strictly for effectiveness.

·         An Intervention occurs in a controlled environment that includes a trained counselor.

·         Once the intervention occurs, daily life must go on.

·         An addict must choose whether or not they enter into rehab. Whether they agree to it or not, the family must stick firm to the consequences that were outlined during the Intervention.


A Family Systemic Model Intervention is completely different. The following points listed below show how a family systemic model is outlined as well as how it differs from a normal intervention.

·         There are no planned meetings that are hidden from the addict. In fact, when a meeting is set up with a trained interventionist the addict goes to the very first one.

·         During the meetings, all family members and the addict openly discuss the way the addict’s behavior has impacted each one’s lives. It is not a one way conversation – it can go back in forth in a controlled manner.

·         Instead of having one big meeting for the intervention, there could be several meetings a week and the process can last months at a time.

·         Both the addict and family members commit to entering some type of counseling. Most likely, the addict will attend an inpatient rehab to get over the addiction. Afterward, the addict will join the family therapy sessions that occur while he/she is in rehab. The family commits to therapy sessions while the addict is in rehab as well as afterward as one family unit.


The Family Systemic works best in a situation where the individual who’s suffering from substance abuse is still able to manage his/her own daily tasks with some efficiency. Going to work, paying bills and the ability to run errands are important for the family systemic. In short: the person has not hit “Rock Bottom” and can still engage in this session. They do not need medical assistance and do not need to be medically detoxed especially in the case of alcohol abuse.  If the individual is using drugs or alcohol around the clock on a consistent basis, its best to consider the more formal approach (Johnson Model) to an intervention as this person most likely will not be able to participate in the Family Systemic approach and its sessions. professional intervention coach

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Frank Say

March 2018



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U Recover to host series: Family and Addiction at Sto-Rox Community Resource Center

U recover will be hosting a lunch & learn series on  The Family and Addiction at the Sto-Rox Community Resource Center in Mckees Rocks Pennsylvania. The sessions will be held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month with alternating topics and is currently beginning March 2018.

This is a timely topic regarding addiction and the community. The series will also address specific needs and provide tools which a family requires when dealing with addiction.

March Topics include:  March 8th:Understanding Addiction,  March 22nd: The Healing Family.    

For additional information please contact The Sto-Rox Community Resource Center at 500 Charties Avenue, Mckees Rocks PA, 15136. 412-331-1685  


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U Recover to Attend Sto-Rox Opioid Summit

U Recover will be attending the Sto-Rox Opioid Summit at the Sto-Rox elementary school, 300 Ewing Road,  Mckees Rocks Pennsylvania 15136 on January 31st, 2018 from 5pm to 7:30pm.

The Summit will be an unique gathering of community organizations and professionals all focused on providing information and hope in regards to the opioid crisis that has created challenges for small communities like Mckees Rocks, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

The summit will provide expert panels, personal narratives and testimonies, information tables, support networking, guest speakers, community resources, community conversations and a message of hope.

Frank Say 1/20/2018

Professional Recovery Intervention and Family Therapy
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Codependency and Family Relationships.

This blog has explored the concept of dealing with a loved one’s addiction and the toll it takes on the family and relationships and it has also examined the idea of codependency which is surrounded by controversy. Just the word codependency comes with its own baggage, ill feelings and general misunderstanding.

One of the biggest arguments I hear from individuals when it comes to the term codependency is that they feel it is an attack on their basic human instinct to assist those around them when they are in need. A stinging slap in the face for doing what society expects of you and, probably what your grandmother told how to treat others.

It is because addiction plays by its own set of rules. It does not care about your good intentions, amount of love you can provide the addict, the amount of money you can provide the addict, the amount of energy you can give the addict.   

Addiction will take all of that and ask for more after it is used up. This often leaves the family member dealing with a child or spouse in the grips of the illness empty and bitter.

What does this have to do with codependency? By its definition codependency is seen as an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on an individual, typically where the relationship furthers the addiction along by providing what it needs most: food, shelter, money and understanding.

Some signs of codependent behavior are:

·         Support of partner of family member that compromises your personal health (physical, mental & emotional)

·         Ignoring harmful or dangerous behaviors in the individual

·         Inability to be happy or fulfilled in other areas of your life without consideration of other person

·         Feedback from friends or family concerned about unnatural dependency

·         Anxiety within relationship

·         Attempts to change individual to meet your preference and desires.

One of the signs of codependency is a lack of self-care. Some codependents may even feel guilty when they take care of themselves or take measures to promote their own well-being. In a sense, codependency is not unlike addiction, except rather than a dangerous drug or other substance; the individual is addicted to the presence, involvement, and approval of a specific person. Some people may be more likely to develop codependent relationships.

Some negative behaviors in codependency:

·         Perfectionism

·         Lack of ability to set boundaries

·         Lack of Self-worth

·         Tendency to be a people pleaser

·         Poor communication skills

·         Fear of being alone

·         Focus on what people think

·         Denial of codependent relationship

·         Denial of personal feelings and needs

·         Guilt

·         Anxiety

·         Caretaking

Some positive ways you can begin the recovery process from Codependency:

·         Read about codependency

·         Talk with a professional

·         Learn how to relax and reduce stress

·         Begin doing your own personal interests-things that you enjoy

·         Accept yourself, good and bad

·         Learn how to acknowledge feelings and personal needs.

Although addiction is an isolating condition, it does not have to be dealt with alone. For either the person with addiction or the family.

January 17th, 2018

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The 7 “C”s for Kids in Addictive Families

Children that live in families where there is active addiction can experience  long-term emotional issues if not treated properly. As mentioned before in previous blogs, addiction is an extremely isolating illness that affects everyone in the family; even the smallest of family members.

Taking on personal blame for the alcoholic’s or addict’s behavior is not specific to the adults in the family. In addition, most children do not have the vocabulary to express themselves adequately in families where active addiction is present. Quite often a child’s emotional issue can be overlooked due to their silence.

The 7 “C”s for Kids is a short list of positive instructions, (or mantra) that children can use with an adults assistance to give them a clear understanding of  their role within a family and what they are responsible for when there is a loved one suffering from addiction.

o   I didn’t cause it

o   I can’t cure it

o   I can’t control it

o   But I can take care of myself

o   By communicating my feelings

o   And making healthy choices

o   And celebrating myself


Frank Say

November 3rd, 2018

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