Family Programs for Addiction Treatment Providers


Substance abuse treatment is strengthened by positive family involvement, yet so few families benefit from a quality family program.


“Family involvement in substance abuse treatment is positively associated with increased entry into treatment, decreased dropout rates during treatment, and better long-term outcomes.”

SAMHSA Treatment Improvement Protocol #39


In line with the SAMHSA TIP 39 goals of family treatment, the groups and workshops I facilitate go beyond psycho-education and general emotional support. I use an empowering solution-focused approach to teach evidence-based CRAFT skills to improve communication, reduce family conflict, and help the family make interpersonal, intrapersonal and environmental changes influencing the addicted person to reduce substance use and engage in treatment. Family members gain new insights, change their own problematic behaviors, create healthier family dynamics and forge a new role as a recovery supporter rather than enabling or micro-managing their loved one.

SAMHSA urges substance abuse treatment agencies and providers to incorporate family approaches, while acknowledging that full integration of family therapy into standard substance abuse treatment is still relatively rare. Reasons include the cost of extensive training, scope of practice of most chemical dependency treatment staff, and the limited capacity of small clinical teams.

If your addiction treatment service lacks a family workshop component, we can work together to create and deliver one at little or no cost to you.

If the work that you do with clients could be strengthened by family involvement in treatment, we can coordinate to create a family program for your clients’ concerned-significant-others. I will tailor evening family groups or weekend-workshops to best complement your clinical services.


Training and Supervision


I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a Washington State Approved Supervisor. I provide clinical supervision or consultation to clinicians who are interested in expanding their expertise in the impact of addiction on families. I have acted as a Practicum Instructor for the UW School of Social Work since 2008 and teach in their MSW program. I have served as a mentor for new social workers through the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Workers serve on their board as the Professional Development Committee Chairperson. My own clinical background includes case management, medical social work, group and individual counseling. I have experience in the fields of addiction, family therapy, geriatric social work, homelessness, pregnant and parenting women and youth.

I enjoy leading training workshops on different aspects of family addiction work. As an approved CEU provider, continuing education certificates can be provided for LICSW, LMFT, and LMHC participants. In addition, I am one of only a few people on the west coast certified in Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), an evidence-based counseling method for working with the families of treatment-refusing addicted people. CRAFT is listed in SAMHSA’s registry of evidence-based practices.

For examples of past training workshops, see the events page.


“Lara is an incredibly knowledgeable and engaging speaker—the students were enthralled and identified Lara, at the end of the quarter, as a favorite speaker.”

– Dr. Roberson, University of Washington