Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)

Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a comprehensive behavioral program that teaches families to optimize their impact on substance-using family members while avoiding confrontation and detachment. This service is nonclinical and a scheduled training. Our CRAFT-trained peers are available during regular working hours (9:00am-4:30pm.) Every CRAFT peer is trained through Dr. Robert J. Meyers, the founder of the CRAFT program.

CRAFT is divided into two approaches. The first being the weekly group meetings held for families on Thursday nights from 6-7pm. These meetings allow our families to debrief on recent updates they may have regarding their loved ones. CRAFT peers invite families to share the successes and challenges they face with their loved ones and themselves. Following the sharing portion, the weekly meeting jumps into a topic formulated by the hosting CRAFT-peer. Topics range from discussing harm reduction, stigma, manipulation tactics, communication, healthy boundaries, navigating loved ones to treatment, self-care, understanding control, and so much more. At its core, the weekly meeting serves as a safe space for any family member to attend with others who have similar experiences.

The second CRAFT approach is the one-on-one session. After a family member has attended the CRAFT group meeting, they can then choose to engage with a CRAFT peer in a 12-week one-on-one program. This program sees a family member progress through a curriculum facilitated by a peer. The curriculum reviews many exercises to promote the family member’s wellbeing and self-care. A happiness scale is conducted to gauge how content the family member is across multiple domains. The family member is posed questions through a functional analysis of their loved ones to better understand how that loved one thinks and feels while using substances. A positive communication skill worksheet is reviewed in which the family member is equipped with healthy forms of communication such as, “be brief,” “label your feelings,” and, “offer an understanding statement.” These exercises combined with other facets of the curriculum are designed to specifically support the family member (independent of their loved one who uses substances.)

The two CRAFT approaches pair together to uphold the three tenets of the program:

  1. To decrease the loved one’s use.
  2. Get the substance user into treatment.
  3. Increase the concerned significant other’s own happiness and self-care.     

CARES fully believes in the CRAFT model and the families who engage in the program. Our CRAFT-trained peers are here to provide support to anyone struggling with a substance using loved one. Please feel free to stop by CARES for any future Thursday night meeting which are held in person (25 W. Main Street, Rockaway, NJ 07866) or via Zoom (Meeting ID: 419-714-303) from 6-7pm. For any additional information, you can contact the CARES CRAFT Coordinator, Pietro Lombardo, at plombardo@mcpik.org.