Community Reinforcement and Family Training: the CRAFT Method

Addiction treatment, Substance Abuse | 0 comments

If your child or a loved one is suffering with substance abuse or mental health, it may be time to prepare for an intervention. The CRAFT approach is typically used by family members to intervene with someone struggling with alcohol or drug abuse. In these cases, those struggling with substance abuse may not be interested or willing to make changes in their life. This method helps families approach communication in a supportive way. 

What Is the CRAFT Approach?

CRAFT stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. This method helps families understand how to interact with their loved one in a way that promotes real change in their life. Through the CRAFT method, families learn:

  • How to communicate in a positive manner
  • Using positive reinforcement to focus on what is working
  • Allowing some of the negative effects of substance abuse to impact their loved one to promote real change
  • Taking real steps to promote taking care of yourself

The CRAFT approach tailors its methods to addressing each family’s unique needs when seeking treatment for a loved one. This approach helps foster positive change in individuals through practicing skills and strategies.

The CRAFT Method for Addiction

The CRAFT Method is a common method used to intervene when an individual suffers from substance abuse. The goal of the method is to get individuals suffering from addiction to seek treatment. Family members are able to use this method to understand how to interact with an individual in a way that addresses their addiction in order to seek professional help through a treatment program. 

The CRAFT Method itself is not an intervention. Instead, it encourages people to use positive reinforcement while addressing substance abuse problems. By following its practices, it has been proven through studies of the CRAFT model to effectively get people dealing with an addiction to accept the help that they need.

When to Use the CRAFT Method?

The CRAFT Method is used when family members and loved ones want to encourage someone to seek professional treatment. Oftentimes, this is due to a substance abuse problem that needs to be addressed. Through the CRAFT Method, individuals are encouraged to become aware of the help they need and accept the need to begin a treatment program.

How to Use the CRAFT Method

To use the CRAFT Method, there are several practices that family members and loved ones can follow to address someone suffering from addiction. These practices include:

  • Identifying Triggers
  • Communication
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Allowing for Natural Consequences
  • Self-care
  • Family Therapy
  • Offering Support
  • Promoting Treatment

Identifying triggers first allows those using this method to determine how to tailor the CRAFT Method to the individual that they are trying to help. For example, identifying triggers first allows individuals to communicate with the individual more effectively while maintaining respect and positive reinforcement.

Empathetic listening skills are also required when using the CRAFT model to address someone suffering from substance abuse. Empathy encourages a stronger connection between the individual and their loved ones. It also provides a safe way to understand what an individual is going through which, in turn, leads to a stronger understanding of how they can seek help.

There are plenty of resources available to those suffering from substance use disorders. For example, outpatient treatment centers allow individuals to seek treatment without disrupting them from their daily lives, as opposed to residential treatment centers. Family and loved ones will need to understand their loved one’s addiction to know which treatment programs might be best for them. When using the CRAFT model, family members and loved ones are encouraged to seek opportunities to mention these treatment programs to someone suffering from addiction. This helps guide them in the direction of seeking help in order to recover.

CRAFT Model vs. Interventions

It is important to understand that the CRAFT Model is not an intervention itself. Interventions use direct confrontation when addressing someone’s substance use disorder. This often consists of a counselor or mental health professional joining family and loved ones to confront an individual with addiction.

The CRAFT Method is effective in that it helps to convince an individual to seek treatment on their own. This gives them the freedom of choice through positively encouraging them in the direction of professional help. Through this method, communication is non-confrontational and can even improve the relationship between loved ones and someone suffering from addiction. 

Another difference between the CRAFT Model and interventions is that the CRAFT Method promotes addressing an issue in a respectful manner. It encourages individuals with addiction to have their own accountability for their substance abuse, encouraging them to seek treatment while family and loved ones are only there for positive support through the process. Regular interventions, in which a mental health professional sits down with family, friends, and someone with addiction, requires an individual to be addressed directly on their substance abuse while trying to get them to accept treatment.

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