The Community Reinforcement and Family Training Intervention Model, commonly abbreviated as CRAFT, was developed out of the University of New Mexico in the late 1970s by Dr. Robert Meyers and Dr. Jane Ellen Smith. It is an intervention model designed for families and friends to implement to encourage formal treatment for loved ones struggling with substance abuse. Rather than targeting the person with addiction directly like other intervention methods, the CRAFT approach is positive and motivational in its focus. CRAFT is a set of therapeutic techniques taken from the community reinforcement approach (CRA). The community reinforcement approach is explained as “a comprehensive behavioral treatment package that focuses on the management of substance-related behaviors and other disrupted life areas… its goal is to help people discover and adopt a pleasurable and healthy lifestyle that is more rewarding than a lifestyle filled with using alcohol or drugs.” CRAFT strategically works with families and friends (referred to as concerned significant others or CSOs) so that they can steer the person dealing with substance abuse (referred to as the identified patient or IP) towards treatment. It builds on principles of positive reinforcement to influence outcomes for people with substance use disorders and their CSOs. According to Mental Help, CRAFT has three goals:
- To improve the life of the CSO
- To reduce the IP’s addictive behavior
- To influence the IP to begin addiction treatment
The primary mechanism of change is the CSO’s behavior toward the IP. CRAFT works by utilizing positive reinforcement to enhance the substance user’s motivation to change, teach the substance user new coping mechanisms, and educate the family on the positive impact they can have in their loved one’s recovery process. Research with the CRAFT model has shown that individuals with drug or alcohol addictions enter treatment around 64% of the time when the family undergoes a CRAFT intervention. Other studies indicate that people enter treatment 64% to 74% of the time after the family engages in a CRAFT intervention. Multiple research reviews and meta-analyses of the treatment-outcome literature have shown the efficacy of CRAFT.
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Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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