The Family Research Project: A Summary

The Family Research Project: A Summary

by Stephanie Brown

Renowned substance-abuse specialist Stephanie Brown discusses effective therapeutic interventions for families of alcoholics during the recovery process.
Sometimes a new idea offers such a radically different lens that it challenges conventional wisdom and even turns standard theory and practice upside down. Children of alcoholics (COA's) and adult children of alcoholics (ACOA's) were new ideas of this kind. We believe that our Family Recovery Research extends this revolutionary perspective. Since 1989, we (Stephanie Brown and Virginia Lewis) have been asking the question: Is there a "normal" developmental process of recovery for the family, similar to the long-term process of change that has been identified for the alcoholic and for children of alcoholics? What happens over time when one or both parents stop drinking? Are there predictable, defined stages? What is the impact of abstinence on the family and on the individuals within?
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Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown, PhD, is a clinician, author, teacher, researcher, and consultant in the field of addictions. She is a licensed psychologist with over 35 years of clinical experience and an internationally recognized expert on the trauma and the treatment of alcoholics and their families. Dr. Brown is currently the Director of The Addictions Institute in Menlo Park, California, an outpatient clinic, and a Research Associate at the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto, CA, where she co-directs The Family Recovery Research Project. She is currently applying this research to the development of a new extended family treatment program at Mayflower in Marin County. She is also Consulting Director of the Institute on Addictions at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco. Dr. Brown founded the Alcohol Clinic at Stanford University Medical Center in 1977 and served as its director for eight years, developing the dynamic model of alcoholism recovery and its application to the long-term treatment of all members of an alcoholic family. Dr. Brown served on the California State Alcoholism Advisory Board and was a founding member of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA.) Visit Stephanie Brown's Addictions Institute website.

Awards: Dr. Brown received the Bronze Key Award (1983) and the Humanitarian Award (1984) from the National Council on Alcoholism and the Community Service Award from the California Society for the Treatment of Alcoholism and other Drug Dependencies in 1986. In 1991 she received an Academic Specialist Award from the U.S.I.A. to teach in Poland. More recently, she received the Norman Zinberg Memorial Award from Harvard University (2000), the Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (2001), and the Janet Geringer Woititz award from Health Communications, Inc. (2005).

Books and Videos: Dr. Brown is the author of Treating the Alcoholic, and Treating Adult Children of Alcoholics, and Editor of Treating Alcoholism, and A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety and Radical Transformation. Her latest book is Speed: Facing our Addiction to Faster and Faster--and Overcoming our Fear of Slowing Down. She is coauthor of The Alcoholic Family in Recovery: A Developmental Model, and The Family Recovery Guide  and co-editor of The Handbook of Addiction Treatment for Women. She has also completed two training videos, Treating Alcoholism in Psychotherapy  and Stages of Family Recovery. She lectures widely and maintains a private practice.

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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

  • Deepen understanding of the goals and challenges of recovery from drinking once abstinence has been achieved.
  • Consider aspects of the stages of recovery from the perspective of families.
  • Increase awareness of the complex ways in which the recovery process impacts children and families of alcoholics.
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