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