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The Invitation to Change: A Short Guide is a practical guide to the 9 core topics of the Invitation to Change Approach, the helping approach at the core of everything we do.

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For Families

If you love someone who is misusing substances, it is likely that you want to help, and that you want things to change – but feel incredibly overwhelmed, angry, scared, or confused about where to start. You may have been told to detach, use “tough love,” or work on your “codependency”—confusing messages that can make you feel like you are the problem.

But the reality is:

You can be a part of your loved one’s life, and you can have a positive impact. You can support them in a way that will help them change.

Our Invitation to Change Approach® (ITC) challenges those stigmatizing, ineffective messages about substance use that are so prevalent. We bring evidence-based ideas together with kindness, so that you can support your loved one in a way that is genuinely helpful and feels right. We will also help you bring self-compassion and care to yourself in the process, because we know you need it to sustain you through these difficult times.

What is an ITC Workshop?

ITC workshops will give you useful ways to understand your loved one’s behavior, so that you can use motivational and behavioral strategies to improve communication and promote change. You will learn skills to:

  • Lessen the tension, conflict, and heated emotion in your relationship and household
  • Allow yourself to be part of the change process and be taken care of on this journey
  • Talk to your loved one in ways that improve collaboration and encourage change
  • Respond more effectively both to the positive changes your loved one makes and to their less positive behaviors, while letting natural consequences play a role in motivating change

The ITC can help you take care of yourself while practicing active strategies to invite and encourage change in your loved one, in yourself, in your family—and, if you’re inspired to share it, in your larger community.

ITC events range from short overviews to 16-hour workshops (virtual and in-person) that take place over 2 full days or several weeks. We use discussion, lecture, and experiential exercises to help you learn and practice the ITC, creating an experience that is emotionally powerful and engaging.

How do I attend an ITC Workshop?

  • Sign up for one of our open registration events!
  • Check out our events page now or sign up for our mailing list to be alerted of upcoming workshops (don’t worry, we don’t spam!).
  • Keep an eye out for one of our 1-2 hour overviews if you aren’t ready or don’t have the time to attend a full weekend workshop.
  • Contact us for information on how to bring a workshop to your community.

*Special Note* You are also welcome to attend our professional trainings, including our quarterly 16-hour workshops. We believe that families with lived experience offer tremendous value to professionals, and the content is essentially the same, so we gladly invite you to share in that space.

ITC Community Groups

ITC Community Groups are designed for people who care about someone struggling with substance use and want to help. They are a space to share the difficult or painful experiences that often come along with caring, while learning and practicing ITC skills that give members effective skills to use in their helping role. We have created an ITC Groups curriculum that includes tools for understanding, communicating, and creating an environment that is supportive of change—all while making time for practice and self-compassion for group members.

ITC Community Groups are a growing resource with the potential to bring compassionate, evidence-based help to more families than ever. If you’re interested in running one in your community, we could use your help. Visit our Community Groups page for more information on how to start a group.