Dr. Brooke Monaco is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been a trainer for The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and CMC:Foundation for Change since 2015. Dr. Monaco also works at CMC’s outpatient program in New York City, where she does group and individual therapy addressing substance use disorders and related issues such as trauma and anxiety disorders. She has coached individual parents and groups, guiding them through their children’s struggles with addiction, borderline personality disorder, and a variety of other issues. Dr. Monaco has also been involved in leading SMART Recovery meetings and was the President and Treasurer for the San Diego Regional Advisory Board for SMART Recovery.
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It is critical to change the conversation around substance use disorders. Our society and pop culture is full of myths about substance use that perpetuate shame, stigma, and helplessness. In reality, family members can help; it’s not hopeless; and being kind and compassionate really matters.
During a weekend-long training, one parent was struggling through a challenging situation. On Sunday morning, she reported back to the group by telling us she had applied skills (communication, self-care, and setting limits) after only having learned about them the previous day. This was a reminder to me about how crucial the skills we teach are, and how useful they can be when dealing with the chronically stressful situation of having a child with a severe substance use issue.