Integrating family therapy to bridge existing gaps in care

Original Article from Newswise

The University of Rhode Island is making big changes in how we treat substance use disorders by including family therapy as part of the treatment. They've noticed that family plays a huge role in helping someone recover from addiction, but there aren't enough trained family therapists around. URI is stepping up by training more therapists and showing that treating addiction works better when the family is involved too.

Rhode Island has started giving associate licenses to trained therapists. This allows insurance companies to pay for patient treatment sooner. The change makes it easier for people to get treatment and helps increase the number of therapists. "Our students can get an associate license right after they graduate," says Dr. Marianne Cless, who is leading the pioneering initiative at the University of Rhode Island. This means they can start supervised work quicker, helping to meet the high demand for mental health treatment.

With only about 20 licensed marriage and family therapist associates in Rhode Island, this program could make a big difference. Therapists focusing on the whole family can spot and deal with issues that affect recovery. "Addiction is a big problem... Family therapy can find problems that stop successful treatment, or things that could help," Cless said, highlighting the need to support both people fighting addiction and their families.

This project aims to change how substance use disorder is treated. It's not just about training more therapists; it's about a whole new way of looking at treatment that considers both the person and their family. The URI program is growing too, inviting more therapists and centers to join. It hopes to create a new standard for addiction recovery that could lead to changes all over the country.

The University of Rhode Island is leading the way by blending education, policy, and practice with an understanding of human relationships. Other states could follow its example to change how addiction treatment works across the country. As the program expands, it serves as a beacon of innovation, hope, and healing, inspiring others to take similar steps.

As the University of Rhode Island's innovative program highlights the paramount importance of integrating family therapy into substance use disorder treatment, Interact LifeLine stands ready to bolster your programs efforts. Learn more about our comprehensive suite of services designed to support treatment programs in expanding their family support services.

From the Article

Newswise — KINGSTON, R.I. — March 21, 2024 — Substance use disorder, particularly involving opioids, is a continuing crisis in the country, impacting not just the person suffering from addiction, but also those closest to them. While treatment is naturally focused on the person facing the disorder, it is critical to include the patient’s family members, who are also impacted by addiction and play a key role in recovery.

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