Freedom from Family Dysfunction: A Guide to Healing Families Battling Addiction or Mental Illness
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN 10: 1538121948
ISBN 13: 978-1538121948
The headlines ring with stories of opioid addiction and overdose. Parents complain about their children’s screen addiction, law enforcement decries the flood of fentanyl, scores of Americans overdose and die daily, and teen alcohol poisoning and marijuana-induced psychosis rates continue to rise. Disabling depression and anxiety are diagnosed at alarming rates in families across the country. Now, more than ever, families struggle to live with, care for, and protect their family members suffering with addiction or mental illness.
Kenneth Perlmutter, a California psychologist with 30-plus years in the field, has written Freedom from Family Dysfunction specifically for family members who love someone battling addiction or mental illness who want to break the cycles of codependency and relapse plaguing their dysfunctional systems. The combination of compelling vignettes, lively dialogues, and step-by-step instructions makes this guidebook an indispensable tool for the parents, partners, adult children, and the clinicians who treat them, to heal the powerlessness, pain, and impossibility of life with someone they’ve been trying to help, sometimes for decades.
Perlmutter takes a systemic and inter-generational view, combining current knowledge with his deep personal experience of addiction and family dysfunction to guide readers toward understanding their systems, their positions in them, and the forces that keep things stuck.
“Stress-Induced Impaired Coping (SIIC)” is the term he’s coined to describe his ground-breaking model of family system pathology and recovery. He invites families to see themselves not as dysfunctional, but as wounded, as they work toward connection, closeness, and the restoration of systemic mental wellness and sustainability. Best of all, the method works regardless of whether the one identified as “the problem” makes changes or not.
Family members who take up Perlmutter’s method will:
· create closeness by pursuing connection over being right
· reject “tough love"
· learn to communicate authentically and to set boundaries confidently and fairly
· rebuild trust, authenticity and equality in family relationships
· reduce chaos, anxiety and distress in the mind and in the home
· shift the entire family system itself toward wellness
Psychologist Perlmutter (founder, Family Recovery Inst., CA), himself a part of a wounded family, provides a model for understanding family system turmoil and underscores the importance of building trust among all members. He urges readers to look at the family unit, its stress-induced, impaired coping methods amid disorder, feelings of deprivation, danger, doubt, and denial, and notes that these survival strategies are the problem. Perlmutter proposes a recovery action plan in which family members no longer accept the current "deal" and change their individual responses. VERDICT Essential for those whose family dynamics are in disarray and who wish to develop healthy relationships—pretty much all of us. (Library Journal, Starred Review)
Dr. P is changing the way we think about and approach families: His is a voice we all can hear. (Claudia Black, PhD; author of "Unspoken Legacy: Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Addiction within the Family," speaker, and trainer)
“Kenneth Perlmutter is one of the most insightful and skilled family therapists that I have ever worked with. His ability to weave his knowledge of addiction, mental health and family systems together with sculpture dynamics, music and poetry is masterful. Families are in good hands when working with Dr. Perlmutter.” (Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, Thought Leader, Author, FounderOnsite Workshops; Co-Author of "Understanding Co-Dependency" and soon to be released,"Caregiving: Hope and Health")
I co-led a Family Relationship Intensive with Kenneth in the fall of 2008. His compassion fosters openness and acceptance. His expertise opens doors to deeper understanding. He gets the system concepts and helps everyone articulate and share their gifts and their needs. The collaborative team approach that he has developed means the outpatient specialists are really talking to eachother: Our clients so sorely need that to stay on track. (Kristina Wandzilak, Executive Director, Full Circle Intervention)
Kenneth is a thought leader, trainer, psychologist and lecturer who brings heart, compassion, wisdom and a depth of information I've rarely seen. I love listening and learning with him and collaborate with him whenever I can. (Brad Reedy, Ph.D; Owner and Clinical Director, Evoke Therapy Programs)
Kenneth gets it! The FRI processes about addictive disease and mental illness brings family members into acceptance and contact. This work addresses what really matters: restoring meaning through repaired connections and the taking of individual responsibility for self and family recovery. (Kevin T. McCauley, MD; Co-founder, The Institute for Addiction Study; Co-Author, "Addiction: New Understanding; Fresh Hope; Real Healing")
About the Author
Kenneth Perlmutter, PhD is a California-based Family Systems Psychologist. He is Founder of the Family Recovery Institute in San Rafael, CA. The Institute and its staff provide individual and family treatment, family systems assessment, and clinical training for professionals at all levels. He has served on the graduate faculty for San Francisco State University Counseling Department and as Associate Professor of Chemical Dependency Studies at California State University East Bay. He has appeared as an expert commentator for KCBS radio and been published in Sober World and Counselor magazines. He makes his home in Marin County, California with his wife of 35 years, Jacqueline, and their yellow lab ShoSho. Visit www.FamilyRecoveryInstitute.com to learn more.