Why I Developed the CRAFT Program
by Dr. Bob Meyers

103275100For four decades I have devoted my professional life to the study and treatment of substance abuse. As you might suspect, my interest in this area comes from personal experience.

I grew up in a household that was dominated by alcohol abuse. In my home, it was my father who drank. As far back as I can remember, our family life revolved around his drunks and my mother’s efforts to get him sober. As you can imagine, life was no picnic. I watched my mother suffer; she yelled, nagged, pleaded, and threatened—all to no avail. My dad continued to drink, and I escaped by joining the navy at seventeen. Sadly, when my mother died at the young age of forty-five, my dad was still drinking. She never realized her dream of a “normal” life with him. I have always felt that his drinking somehow contributed to her early death.

My goal as a scientist and clinician is to help other families avoid the pain that mine has suffered. Although my mother was blessed by the support and comfort she found in Al-Anon meetings, she was never able to achieve her most cherished goals of getting my father into treatment and getting him to stay sober. It is to her, and the millions of other families that are tortured by substance abuse, that my work is dedicated.

What is CRAFT?

The Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) program, works to change the Concerned Significant Other’s (CSO) environment to make a non-substance using lifestyle more rewarding than one focused on using alcohol or other drugs. In the CRAFT model, concerned significant others (CSOs) are the focus of the therapy instead of the substance abuser. CSOs receive training to change their interactions with the substance using person, reducing their enabling behaviors and improving their communications strategies. Randomized clinical trials have shown CRAFT 3 to 5 times better at engaging resistant substance users than Alanon or the Johnson Institute style. It is an Evidenced Based Treatment.

Treatment initiation of the substance user typically occurs about half way through the 12 session course of CRAFT. Even if the Identified Patient-Substance misuer) the IP does not enter treatment, IPs often substantially reduce their addictive behavior and the family member reduces her anxiety, depression, anger and physical complaints due to the therapy process.

Join Our Training

The Center for Optimal Living and The New School for Social Research will be hosting a special 3-day training for clinicians and graduate students with Dr. Bob Meyers on CRAFT on March 10-12, 2017 in NYC. CE credits will be provided. Learn more and register now.

Learn more about the CRAFT model and techniques with the book Get Your Loved One Sober, by Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D., and Brenda L. Wolfe, Ph.D.


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