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Addiction is a Family Illness.

Remembering families.

We are sitting in a room in a treatment facility. It’s a ‘family programme’ for family members of people in treatment or out there, in active addiction/ recovery. I haven’t facilitated a group like this for a long time and it’s bringing back my memories of attending my first family programme as a participant 19 years ago. That day turned lights on for me in the dark and chaotic place addiction had turned my life into at that time. So my personal recovery began.

“It’s been so great to hear what everyone has shared today and realize that I’m not alone or going mad,” a young woman, whose partner is in treatment, says.

“It’s as if someone has been recording what’s going on in my home,” shares a man whose teenage daughter is in treatment.

Group members share how they have been affected by addiction and together we build a picture of the effects on how families mirror the effects on users: drained resources, damaged relationships, loss of trust, stress, worry and anxiety, breakdown in communication, loss, loss, loss, to name just a few.

What also emerges is knowledge that people have developed that offer some respite: setting limits, accepting the reality and that there’s no quick fix, standing together against the problem, separating the problem from the people, self- care, letting go. So a picture of recovery emerges.

There is a saying that ‘for every one person in active addiction 20 others are affected’, but how well is this understanding reflected in the local treatment industry where the lion’s share of the resources are allocated to the ‘identified patient’ with families still left to pick up the scraps?

If we want to arrest the damaging effects of addiction, we need to also support families in their recovery. While family recovery offers no guarantees that the person in active addiction will recover, it limits the damage, arrests the unwitting enabling of the problem and gives that person their best chance of recovery. 

 – Katy Menell, registered counsellor and director at Prospect Hill

“Thank you for the programme; it was a truly liberating experience.”
– programme participant.

Prospect Hill and Tharagay Addiction Services are offering an invaluable opportunity to family members of addicts with their collaborative Family Support Programme which will take place at Tharagay Manor in Plumstead every second Wednesday.
Please see Prospect Hill’s website for more information.
The programme will be facilitated by Jean Dixon, Katy Menell and Penelope Garden. 

Jean Dixon, Counsellor/ Registered Nurse/ Director 

I believe that CHANGE is possible. I am passionate about offering support while exploring options & exercising choices that come with CHANGE to find a fuller and more colourful life.

Katy Menell, Registered Counsellor/Director 

I am passionate about supporting people to connect to their body, heart, mind and relationships as resources for recovery, growth and change.

Penelope Garden, Counsellor/ Director 

I have been working in the counselling field for the last 12 years and started in private practice 5 years ago. I designed and ran a successful family program and have a special interest in working with families and codependency. I believe that changing one person in the family system powerfully changes its whole nature and respect the enormous courage it takes to start this process.

Eating disorders is a group of illnesses that affect the entire family. Karlien Terblancheof Prospect Hill is offering a monthly workshop to create a safe space for family members of those struggling with this terrible illness. An occupational therapist, dietician and psychologist will take you through the basics of understanding the eating disorder, understanding your own family dynamics, and guidance in how to best support your loved one and yourself through this time. 

Consulting rooms and workshop/ group space available to let at our
dynamic and diverse practice. 

Contact Mark at or 0823411963 for more information or to arrange a viewing.

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