The effects of addiction and trauma spread far beyond the individual who experiences them. The people who surround someone struggling with trauma or addiction often carry burdens alongside their loved one. Perhaps they’ve watched their child or spouse succumb to self-destructive behaviors, or they’ve developed their own coping mechanisms to deal with a friend or sibling’s sudden behavioral changes. The ripples of trauma and addiction can spread quickly and silently and can be destructive in their own ways.

Research tells us that recovery is strengthened when family or a primary support system exists. But when this support system is in equal need of healing, they may be unable to provide the positivity and encouragement that an individual in treatment may need. Those who participate in substance abuse or trauma treatment have opportunities for education, insight and processing of their experiences and emotions while developing healthy coping mechanisms. Families, however, do not often have access to the same resources.

When families are forgotten in the recovery process, it may perpetuate their tendency to be organized around the chaos of addiction rather than being organized to the recovery. For many families the symptoms of trauma are often left untreated, leading to behaviors that place themselves and their loved one in recovery at risk of past dynamics. Integrating families into recovery allows them to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment, rather than allowing emotions to spill over in unproductive ways. They can also learn about the recovery process and how to both start their own journey of recovery as well as to support the recovery of their loved one.

About the Workshop

With support from the Recovery Centers of America, “The Forgotten Patient — A Family Systems Approach to Treating Trauma and Addiction” discusses the importance of including family members, loved ones and others close to the primary patient in addiction and trauma treatment. Our emphasis on family-focused treatment in the trauma and addiction arenas, specifically, includes an overview of the ways that these situations may cause harm beyond the primary patient. This workshop will delve into evidence that supports the inclusion of family in recovery treatment and will cover current understandings of best practices for providing family therapy and family-oriented recovery resources. We will foster dialogue about the importance of support systems, the qualities of a strong support system and the people who may comprise an appropriate support system.

Level of Instruction: All

 Meet the Expert

Trish Caldwell, MFT, LPC, CCDP-D, CAADC, CCTP

Trish Caldwell is the Family Services Director for Recovery Centers of America. She is a private practice therapist, a sought-after speaker for agencies and school districts and an adjunct instructor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in family therapy, trauma and substance use disorders, as well as attention deficit disorders and adolescent/young adult populations. Her 25-year career includes extensive training in trauma and substance use disorders, as well as roles in clinical management and supervision in substance use treatment and with the drug courts, probation and judges in Delaware and Montgomery Counties. Additionally, she created the first Young Offenders Treatment Program in Delaware County, providing assistance for first-time offenders with drug charges.


The 2018 Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders takes place in Hyannis, Massachusetts from September 13th through 16th. This year’s agenda includes workshops, lectures, courses and special events that focus on a variety of topics relevant to the addiction treatment industry, from breakthroughs in care modalities to best practices for managers and administrators. To learn more about our 2018 offerings, review our full agenda and course lists. Registration is now open for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.




  • CCSAD provided a professional opportunity to connect with positive and ethical peers.

  • Wonderful turnout of participants and great opportunity for networking and securing new relationships. Thanks for another great year!

  • It was a pleasure to be a Platinum sponsor at such a well-respected event.

  • I have attended CCSAD for many years now and find it is fantastic every year. I always take something wonderful away and learn a great deal.

  • This symposium is by far the best around. I have attended many others and they were wonderful, but CCSAD is outstanding.

  • THANK YOU that CCSAD is the MOST multidisciplinary conference for Addiction Medicine professionals.

  • Thank you for continuing and expanding this program as well as making it an opportunity for a supportive break from a very busy and demanding profession.

  • The conference is always wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoy attending not just for the learning experience but also for the new friends I have met in past and present attendance.

  • I especially VALUE that CCSAD is the primary multidisciplinary conference for practicing clinicians and policy-makers, where integrative care management is so clearly shown to be in our patients' best interests.

  • This Symposium always gives me new insights and perspectives re: addiction and conditions for treatment strategies. I always learn something new and am always eager to pass it on.

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