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Arbor Family Institute

Families need help,too.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely your world is being torn apart. One of the very worst sources of pain is watching your loved one die of addiction. You’re unsure of where to turn. You’re looking for a place to come with questions and concerns and to learn what to do when dealing with an addicted loved one.

Substance use disorders affect the entire family.

In 2019 Texas Tech University conducted a study led by Sterling Shumway Ph.D., LMFT using brain mapping to compare the addicted brain to the family member’s brain.

Shumway’s research suggests addiction affects the brain of family members the same way it affects the brain of the individual struggling – through the neurological impact of stress, fear, and pain. There are numerous treatment options for people struggling with substance use disorders, but there is a lack of treatment for the family system.

Families need help, too.

The Arbor Family Institute was created to help family members engage in their
own healing process and find emotional freedom, which will in turn give their
loved one a better chance at long-term recovery.

Program Structure

  • Eight Week Curriculum
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays from 6-8pm
  • One family individual session per week


Nature of Addiction (Family Version)

Debunk the theory that addiction is about choice and willpower. Provide psychoeducation
regarding the disease model of addiction.

Family Life Cycle Stage & Expectations

Provide education on the developmental life cycles of families and identify where the family may be
stuck. Explore family expectations for their loved ones and themselves.

Pain Model (Family Version)

Identify contributing factors that lead to systemic pain and identify ways that families manage
their pain. Recognize current maladaptive patterns and foster resiliency.

Disease Cycle

Explore the cycle of addiction that family members experience when engaged in unhealthy
transactional patterns of behavior with their loved ones.

Systemic Contribution to Addiction & Boundaries

Define and identify cognitive dissonance contributing to family members’ belief systems to
foster the creation of healthy boundaries.


Define genograms and identify interneural patterns within clients’ families of origin. Create
visual representations or client’s family dynamics.

The Nature of Trauma (EMDR/Trauma)

Explore trauma responses experienced by loved ones. Discuss projection of anxieties and sensitivities.


Provide psychoeducation on polyvagal theory and Natural Lifemanship principles.


Provide psychoeducation regarding common comorbid mental health diagnoses.

12-Step Recovery

Discuss the value of the 12 Step principles for the enrichment of recovery.

Finding Common Ground

Explore maladaptive patterns of communication and provide alternative affective
communication skills. Participate in role play activities to engage in examples of reflective
listening and increased self-awareness in conflict resolution.

Recovery Plan (Relapse/Comm)

Define relapse and identify rigid and open boundaries. Explore sustainable, healthy
boundaries that family members can establish. 

Meet the AFI team.

Austin Weber, MS, LCDC

Clinical Services Manager

Austin received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Quincy University and his master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in couples therapy from Northcentral University. Austin’s treatment career has been enhanced by a variety of roles, including intensive outpatient counselor, residential treatment counselor, and family services manager. He believes that addiction is a family disease; therefore, treatment is necessary for the whole family system involved in the cycle of addiction.
Austin entered the field of addiction treatment after his own personal experience with family members in addiction. His experience watching veterans battle addiction and his own family struggling with addiction motivated him to commit his professional career to helping families and spouses suffering from addiction and alcoholism.
Austin is a United States Marine Corps veteran, a former collegiate basketball player, and a devoted dog dad. In his free time, he enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors.

Amy Alden, LCDC

Director of Family Services

Amy’s personal journey has informed her professional path. She has been in recovery since 2005 and has been involved in family recovery since 2014. Amy is a Georgia native and she moved to Austin in 2012. Service to others has been a guiding force in her life. When she moved to Texas, she began volunteering at a local treatment center. It was there that she realized her passion for recovery and helping others could be translated into a career. Amy is a LCDC-I and has fulfilled numerous roles in her career. These include Counseling, Admissions, and Family Services Manager.
During her tenure, she has discovered her primary passion is working with families. Amy has witnessed incredible transformations with clients. While witnessing client transformations, Amy has sought to understand family dynamics and the roles that each family member plays. Amy believes that it is imperative to address not only the individual with a substance use disorder but also the family . This approach helps individuals obtain full and lasting recovery. In combining her own education, efforts, and experience Amy found her stride and excelled in connection with clients and families. Her compassion, love, and empathic approach are truly exceptional. As a result, she has also witnessed miraculous changes in families.
In her free time Amy enjoys being outdoors, kayaking, connecting with friends and family and playing with her dogs. She is active in her local recovery community. She is a present mother, wife and friend.

Interested in participating?

Fill out the form below and a AFI representative will reach out to you.