At Muir Wood, we believe that family involvement is essential for success in treatment. Between the individual family therapy, weekly phone consultations with licensed therapists, and the comprehensive, weekly Saturday Family Program, parents are on average involved in treatment at Muir Wood 6–10 hours each week.
Individual family therapy sessions are scheduled each week with the clinical director at Muir Wood. Because we treat only 10 boys at any one time at Muir Wood, our clinical director is often able to make accommodations in her schedule to ensure that individual family therapy can be conducted in person on campus. However, if this is not possible, our clinical director facilitates individual family therapy via Skype sessions with the use of a large monitor in her office. Often, Skype sessions are more effective, as boys feel safe to disclose sensitive underlying issues without their parents present in the same room. With this said, it is mandatory that the individual family therapies happen either in person on campus or via Skype each week as they are a core component of the treatment program at Muir Wood.
Additionally, every week Muir Wood conducts a Saturday Family Program on campus. This weekly Family Program is divided into two distinct sessions. In the morning session, families work with a variety of nationally-respected adolescent treatment experts who work with Muir Wood as guest lecturers. These lecturers include esteemed physicians and board-certified addiction treatment specialists, psychologists, therapist, educators, and authors. Topics range from co-dependency and attachment, the disease concept and neurobiology of addiction, conflict resolution and effective communication techniques, effective parenting, relapse prevention and preparedness, understanding 12-Step recovery, family reunification, and helping teens make the right choices: substance abuse strategies for families.
Meet Our Saturday Family Program Guest Lecturers
Following the morning educational sessions on Saturday, families and staff are treated to lunch prepared by the Muir Wood Executive Chef, Eric Emal. Families and staff often dine together allowing them to further process the morning educational presentations.
The afternoon sessions of the Saturday Family Program include a multifamily process group facilitated by the clinical director. This empowering and supportive group therapy combines the power of a group dynamic with an underlying focus on family systems and structure. In this setting, families come to the realization that they are not alone sharing similar issues and barriers to recovery. When parents receive support and encouragement from other families who are going through the same issues, it provides hope and a sense of empowerment. Ultimately, parents feel safe within the group and begin to experiment with new ways to cope and manage stress within their own family. Additionally, multifamily therapy provides an opportunity for modeling appropriate behavior observed in other families, while better identifying problematic behaviors in their own. Lastly, this tightly bonded group can become a support network for families. Friendships are often established that last long after residential treatment concludes.
Saturday Family Workshop Descriptions
Every Saturday Muir Wood hosts nationally recognized treatment experts who facilitate workshops with the families. The Saturday Family Program takes place Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Parents should arrive no sooner than 9:30 am to allow for a prompt 10:00 am start time.
Mindfulness and Walking the Middle Path – Bruce Killen, PsyD, LMFT (Week One)
This group, led by Dr. Bruce Killen, utilizes Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills-based activities and tools to assist families with how to tolerate and express feelings. Mindfulness techniques are reviewed as healthy coping alternatives.
Neurobiology of Addiction – Lisa Frederiksen (Week Two)
This educational presentation, facilitated by author Lisa Frederiksen, provides an overview of how substance abuse affects the brain. Systemic impacts are also addressed, particularly focusing on how the substance use of one family member has a ripple effect on the other family members. Participants are given a copy of Lisa’s book, “Loved one in Treatment, Now What?”.
Substance Abuse, Addiction and Relapse Prevention – Tim Browne, PhD (Week Three)
This educational presentation, facilitated by Dr. Tim Browne, provides an overview of substance abuse and addiction. Topics ranging from the difference between use and abuse, Twelve Step groups, and relapse triggers and prevention are discussed.
Adolescent Cannabis Addiction and Brain Health – David Smith, MD, FASAM (Week Four)
This group, facilitated by world-renowned physician Dr. David Smith (founder of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic) reviews how modern day marijuana impacts the developing adolescent brain. Brain health and reparative strategies are also reviewed.
Codependency and Interdependency in Family Relationships – Rawland Glass, LCSW (Week Five)
This parents-only interactive group is facilitated by Rawland Glass, who was the recipient of Addiction Professional Magazine’s Clinician of the Year in 2014. Topics focus on codependency and interdependency and how it impacts family relationships. Discussion focuses on parenting/co-parenting, healthy boundaries and communication skills.
Sociometry and Psychodrama for Families – Andy Findley, LMFT (Week Six)
This didactic or action-oriented exploration with parents looks at interpersonal relations within the family, role diagrams, and facilitates constructive change by increasing awareness, empathy, and social interaction. The afternoon group can include the residents where clarified roles within the family system are strengthened allowing for increased cohesion.