The Family's Role
What is the role of the family once an individual takes his or her first step in recovery by joining the CooperRiis Community?
The initial phase of recovery from a mental illness is overcoming a state of feeling stuck. This begins to happen as the individual acknowledges and accepts his or her illness, develops the desire and motivation to change, and finds and utilizes sources of hope.
When someone with emerging hope becomes a CooperRiis resident, family members are guided towards methods for being positive, encouraging voices as their son, daughter, spouse, or sibling gains a new perspective on self and their disorder and takes new risks in the world. We often learn critically important information from families. As the resident-family-CooperRiis triad is established we find that it is also critically important to assure that we are a team and not working at cross-purposes with one another.
The CooperRiis Recovery Coordinators offer support for the residents' family member, providing constructive and regular communication in person, when possible, or via phone or e-mail. Even as our objective is to help the family member learn new ways of becoming supportive, we also seek to support their next of kin in their own healing process. [Note: Confidentiality rules require that residents give us written permission to communicate with family and most do.]
In support of our efforts to guide and educate families, we host a "Family Education Weekend" twice a year, in April/May and in October. This three-day weekend is filled with educational workshops, sharing time and entertainment, and typically starts Friday morning and ending Sunday at noon. It is open to all current families at CooperRiis and the CooperRiis Community Programs.