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History & Vision

Family Education has been a fundamental part of the CooperRiis program for as long as we have been in existence. Don Cooper and Lisbeth Riis Cooper’s founding vision included the appreciation and impact that their journey had on them and formed much of the basis for the program. Twice yearly, until this past spring, CooperRiis has hosted a three-day Family Education Weekend, or as we called it “FEW.” We invited families to come to CooperRiis and participate in a series of important workshops, seminars, small and large group meetings, and have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful community life. COVID-19 forced us to change how we do Family Education.

CooperRiis has the privilege of partnering with exceptional individuals as they do transformative work and we believe power is added to that work by fully including families on our recovery teams. Powerful things happen in this community when we all come together to support the recovery process of our residents. We have always recognized the crucial role that family members play in the recovery process of our residents. Family members represent essential sources of information, resources, and support. We know both from our personal experience and also from the research literature, that getting families on our recovery teams greatly increases the likelihood that gains that are made during treatment are sustained long term (Murray-Swank & Dixon, 2004). We also recognize that although we partner with our residents on a very important part of their journey, it is the family that is there for the duration.

Family Education goes Virtual

Beginning August 17, a journey of education and growth will begin with the release of our first recorded version of our Family Education Program.  Families and residents/community members will be invited to watch an introduction as well as our first module, Understanding Emotional Health Conditions.  The following week, a live session via TEAMS will serve as a follow up to the material presented during the recorded session.  During the live session, there will be an opportunity for discussion and activities for deeper understanding of the content.  The following topics will be covered in subsequent weeks:

  • Education about Mental Health Conditions, Recovery, and CooperRiis
  • Impact of Mental Health Conditions upon Residents and Family
  • Education about Family Systems
  • Healthy and Effective Communication
  • Effective Partnership around Problem Solving
  • Proactive Crisis Planning and Stress Reduction 

For the next 12 weeks, a recorded session or a live session will be available.  It is our hope that at the end of this experience both residents and family members will perceive themselves as an informed and empowered recovery team that can move forward with new purpose and clarity.

We are hopeful to return to our traditional Family Education Weekend format, perhaps in the spring of 2021. This new format and will allow families a greater ability to deeply explore and study the many challenging family dynamics that contribute in a positive way to an individual’s recovery experience, but at a distance and virtually.

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