Dealing with children in addiction recovery can be tricky. Their motivations may lie in the wrong places, or they may have no motivation whatsoever. Many youths do not see their drug use as an issue and may be in denial about their addiction. It is essential to motivate children to be mindful of their health and seek treatment for substance abuse if and when it’s needed. One way to do this is Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), a treatment model that focuses on the addict’s family as well as community engagement.
How Does CRAFT Work?
CRAFT teaches family and friends successful strategies for helping their child change their behavior and feel better about themselves. CRAFT works to affect a child’s behavior by changing how their family interacts with them, and vice versa. This treatment model is designed to help by:
- Assisting families in motivating their child to seek treatment
- Reducing alcohol and drug use, whether or not your child has sought treatment yet
- Improving the lives of family and friends.
CRAFT helps families foster a non-judgmental attitude towards their loved ones struggling with addiction. It teaches that detachment and confrontation are unhealthy to both the family and the child. CRAFT has been proven to be more effective than interventions or leveraging.
Another aspect of CRAFT is community reinforcement. The therapeutic practices of CRAFT are adapted from the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA). CRA is a psychosocial intervention for individuals with alcohol and other drug use disorders. It has been adapted for several populations, including adolescents and family members of individuals who are resistant or reluctant to enter treatment. The focus is to help children find healthier ways to deal with their social or emotional needs without using drugs or alcohol.
In CRAFT, children are asked to invite a person who may be affected by their drug use, usually a parent or sibling. This is helpful for providers to understand triggers a child may have that influence their drug use. During treatment, children and families learn useful skills to meet their recovery goals, including communication, problem-solving, and self-care. These skills remain helpful in the long term for both families and children struggling with addiction.
Evidence in Support of CRAFT
The first studies on CRAFT were completed in 1986. These studies showed that six out of seven family members using the CRAFT model could get their loved ones to enter treatment. Typically, it took them about seven sessions to achieve this. Loved ones also cut their number of drinking days in half during the time their family members were training in CRAFT.
Since then, other studies have been done to analyze the success of CRAFT in teen addiction recovery. When compared to programs such as AL-ANON and the Johnson Institute Intervention, CRAFT was substantially more effective. It produced three times as much engagement as the other conventional approaches, and two-thirds of resistant patients attended treatment. These results were able to be replicated in at least two more studies concerning the success of CRAFT compared to traditional treatment models.
Overall, the studies show that a family’s engagement rate in CRAFT is significantly higher than other treatment models. CRAFT teaches families invaluable skills to cope with the psychological issues that stem from a family member’s substance abuse. For parents, this model shows more engagement partly because the family is encouraged to join the child in treatment. This method applies to all cultural, ethnic, and religious groups, making it more universally successful than other models.
Why Is CRAFT More Successful?
Theories on why CRAFT is so successful are plentiful. First, it is believed that teaching social-learning skills helps children reconnect with their peers and families in a healthy way. Unlike traditional interventions, CRAFT is non-confrontational. Families do not confront their loved ones to break through their denial – instead, they learn how to set appropriate boundaries. In CRAFT, families also learn practical skills that can be used to disengage themselves from the pattern of their loved one’s use. They are able to invite changes in their loved ones while changing their own lives at the same time.
CRAFT also teaches important communication skills. Families are taught how to take advantage of windows of opportunity for having difficult conversations and how to talk about treatment in a way that makes it more appealing and interesting to their loved ones. The high rate of addicted children who seek treatment after participating in CRAFT indicates that these methods are indeed successful.
To learn more about CRAFT and how it can help families struggling with substance abuse, contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.