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 is a wonderful conference bringing together addiction professionals of all types in one large collaborative setting. It has become an absolute must for me each year and provides excellent quality and value for continuing medical education.

  • This event was one of the most informative learning experiences I've ever had in my 28 years of work!

  • The Cape Cod Symposium is a primary source of new information and new developments in the field of addiction. It is my most important professional development activity every year. The reputation of the conference seems to just keep getting better and better. See you in September.

  • I have gone to many conferences in my over 30 years in the addiction field and I can say I like this one the best. It was professional people with great, knowledge, insights, and experiences getting together and sharing and supporting each other. That to me is what it is all about.

  • I look forward to this conference every year. I always leave with a full tool bag and a renewed confidence in new and exciting ways to take care of those suffering from addictions!

  • CCSAD continues to be the premier training and education event for the addiction field because it does so well what others try to do, but fall short. It provides the opportunity for the frontline practitioner and administrator to experience gold standard, relevant, challenging, thought-provoking, and meaningful content, while also offering unique networking opportunities that are both fun and renewing for the spirit. One simply can't do better!

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