We all were born into a family of one sort or another. Our families represent our first learning laboratories where we learn to develop our personalities. Our most powerful teachers are our parents and family members. Their lessons shape our worldview and perspective on love, attachment, safety, culture, belonging, connection, and separation.
I certainly recognize how my family shaped, not just my identity, but my passion and profession. My paternal grandmother, Lidia, was a Mexican healer. She helped raise me and shaped my interest in native traditions and healing. I grew up knowing that it was my life’s purpose to follow her footsteps and become a healer. Becoming a psychologist was my way of achieving credibility in Western culture to practice what I always knew I was born to be. I knew that my life would contribute to the balance and healing of our family. When my father became depressed and an alcoholic, my job was to care for my siblings and, I thought, bring my father into sobriety. My father taught me that we are each responsible for our choices. His addiction expressed his struggles with assimilation, displacement, and deeply imbedded patterns of hurt and resentment. In the end, it was my father’s return to Mexico that brought his sobriety and lifted his depression, as he reclaimed his place in the world he always knew as his own.
Today, my commitment to honor my native healing tradition is expressed in my clinical work with families. We at Alo House Recovery Centers believe that an addicted client comes to express, not only their personal pain, but also the inherited and collective suffering intentionally or unintentionally endured in a family. As addiction impacts every single individual- participation of family helps heal, not only the addict, but the entire system. We support clients becoming individuated expressions of health, balance and connection. We appreciate the support, love and guidance that families provide because their participation breaks patterns that have been forged over multiple generations. As unhealthy patterns are broken and shattered, they are replaced by connection, higher awareness and forgiveness.
Every client at Alo House has an opportunity to include their family and significant others in treatment. We at Alo House believe in the power and force of families to restore balance and healing. Families provide support and critical knowledge. By including families in treatment, clients are able to define themselves as individuals. In cases where family has represented hurt and trauma, our clients come to experience the restorative power of a healing family as represented by every alumnus, staff, and client at Alo House. The inclusion of family treatment can provide the most dramatic transformation in the least amount of time possible. This is specifically significant in an era where treatment length of stay becomes increasingly shorter. At Alo House Recovery Centers, we see our clients as an extension and expression of the families from which they come. By repairing unhealthy family patterns and life’s traumas, we can break generations of hurt and suffering… and addiction.
Dr. Jorge Partida, PsyD
Director of Family Program
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