The concerned other
How to change problematic drug and alcohol users through their family members: a complete manual
By Phil Harris

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

  • The mother wracked with anxiety for her once loving son who is now transformed beyond recognition...
  • The silent father who cannot articulate his fear or despair for a lost daughter...
  • Husbands and wives struggling to reconcile the destruction reaped upon them by the person they vowed to spend their life with...

  • The concerned other is desperate for change in the user, but often ends up feeling helpless and frustrated - let down by his or her own inability to help and by a lack of professional support. Professional helpers, on the other hand, may find that their training, geared to the individualistic theories that require the user to make the change, find they are unable to employ effectively the concerned other and his or her willingness to help.

    In this book, Phil Harris sees the concerned other as the person most able to effect change in the user's life. He presents a thoroughly researched and carefully argued theoretical underpinning of his work, and offers practitioners a clear and comprehensive, intervention-based programme to help the concerned other bring about the change that he or she most wants to see.

    For drug and alcohol workers, youth workers, criminal justice workers, social workers, housing officers, family workers, counsellors, families, The Concerned Other provides a complete treatment manual for working with those affected by a family member's drug and alcohol use. It:
  • explores the extensive research that demonstrates why and how families can effect change
  • offers comprehensive assessment and outcomes tools
  • provides a complete worksheet-based programme that will help the 'concerned other':
    • get their loved one into treatment
    • reduce the stress and pressure they are under
    • improve the quality of their own life
    • support their loved one in treatment.
    This book will help practitioners support the concerned others in effecting change in the user, and will increase the provision of high quality and effective services they can offer to those who suffer intolerably from those that they also love the most.

    The 68 pages of copiable material to be found in this manual are also available as a FREE PDF to customers who subsequently register their purchase with RHP.

    The guidance and materials in this manual are designed primarily for work with individual concerned others. But the author has included suggestions on how it can be adapted for work with groups. His work with groups is currently being developed further; and he and RHP may be able to make the results of this work available in the future. Please monitor our website for further announcements in 2010/11.

    A4. 304 pages. 9781905541485. Published January 2010. £49.95


    Drug and alcohol workers, youth workers, criminal justice workers, social workers, housing officers, family workers, counsellors and families.



    Using the manual
    Working with individuals and groups
    Who is this book for?
    The context
    Social context

    What is problematic use?
    Social consequences of use
    Family hardships
    Family coping
    Family contact with the problem user
    Family pressure and treatment entry
    Therapeutic context
    Self-help: Al Anon and Ala Teen
    Co-dependency movement
    The intervention
    Recent approaches for concerned others
    Approaches facilitating treatment entry only
    Dual approach models
    Parent and Carers Training Programme (PACT)
    PACT: programme aims and structure
    PACT: assessment
    PACT: a behavioural ethos
    Reinforcement and substance misuse
    Reinforcement and change
    Principles of treatment entry
    Functional analysis logs
    Extinction burst
    Bringing up the subject of treatment
    Selecting treatment options
    Supporting the loved one in treatment
    Treatment outcomes and relapse
    Carefrontation and termination
    Improving the concerned other's life
    Reducing pressure of the concerned other
    Closing treatment
    Using the manual
    Outcomes and measures
    The Programme
    Induction and assessment for the PACT programme

    What have you tried so far?
    How PACT changes your loved one's use
    Temptations and threats
    Comprehensive assessment
    Mood screener
    (CES-D) Depression scale
    Life satisfaction audit
    My better life
    How to get the loved one into treatment
    Rapid entry procedure

    Readiness assessment
    Readiness approach
    Treatment entry
    Rewards for the loved one
    Problem solving
    Reducing conflict
    The 'I' message
    Assessing enabling
    Others enabling
    Preparing to withdraw
    Functional analysis logs
    Intervention plan
    Barriers and hooks to treatment
    What help is out there?
    Bringing up the subject of treatment
    How to reduce pressures on the concerned otherDomestic violence assessment
    Emergency plan
    Domestic violence functional analysis
    Domestic violence intervention plan
    How to improve the quality of life for the concerned other
    Identifying social support
    Building social support
    Improving coping
    My strengths
    How to support the loved one in treatment
    Understanding slips
    Risk factors
    Strengthening attendance
    Dealing with setbacks
    Setback plan
    The carefrontation
    When is it time to quit?
    Closure and review


    Phil Harris
    is an independent writer who has worked in direct access drug services for over sixteen years. He has designed and delivered internationally recognised treatment programmes and accredited training courses throughout the UK and Europe. Having worked as a drugs treatment advisor to DST's, Criminal Justice Services and Youth Services, he has also managed several organisations and implemented innovative, practical and effective approaches to addressing people's problems with misuse of drugs and alcohol. He continues to practice in the south west of England.


    "This workbook offers practical help, support and a framework to be used by drug and alcohol workers, criminal-justice and housing workers, etc. It approaches this ambitious scope through a broad selection of worksheets. Comprehensive and well-thought-out, workers can select those applicable for their work setting.

    "What is refreshing is the promise that the family member, or concerned other, is a valuable tool in helping their loved one into treatment. It works to empower them with practical help and support... many helpful interventions are put forward...

    "The book is divided into two sections. The first part evaluates social context, therapeutic context and the PACT Parents and Carers Training programme. It tends to be somewhat over-wordy, but the content is valuable. It offers helpful interventions to reduce pressure, address domestic violence, conflict and other high-risk situations that can affect the family member.

    "The second part of the book offers programme worksheets for practitioners, key workers and concerned others. They are well explained and detailed.

    "All in all, the book is very useful. It has been well researched, is highly adaptable, and would be a useful tool in many settings." Addiction Today

    "Focuses on what the concerned other can do and provides a very specific tool to do it, providing an overt challenge that awakens us brusquely to the great potential for change that exists within a highly crucial relationship... a text which offers helpful analysis and description of behavioural mechanisms and includes some good exercises... The manual offers another addition to the range of skills required by practitioners when working with families whose customary coping mechanisms have been tested to the limits by problematic substance misuse."Child Abuse Review

    "Introduces, then describes and then provides an intervention-based programme to help family and friends (the concerned others) bring about change in people close to them who are experiencing problems with drugs and/or alcohol... it is a large book... and includes sixty-six pages of copiable material available as a free PDF to customers who subsequently register their purchase with the publishing house... a beginning to the end and all points in between manual. It is a welcome addition to the toolkit for working with those affected by a family member's drug and alcohol use." British Journal of Social Work

    "A comprehensive manual and potentially a training programme that provides professionals or family members themselves with the tools to work with the family members of problematic drug and alcohol users... The programme states that it can be delivered by professionals to concerned family members, or that family members could work through it on their own. The underlying principle of the programme is that is provides concerned family members with skills, knowledge and encouragement so they are not alone and can support family members through a problematic drug or alcohol issue... this programme felt like a breath of fresh air... the programme and book are written in an extremely positive manner that begins where the family, user, and 'concerned other' are... The resources attached to this programme are varied and would be extremely useful with families... The fact that having purchased the book one can request electronic copies of the paperwork makes it more usable... The Concerned Other is a valuable resource and will inform my practice in the future." Youth and Policy

    "I have worked in the Drug & Alcohol field for 14 years and specifically worked with 'concerned others' for 2 years. After attending the PACT training and reading The Concerned Other, I have found the model and approach to add depth and richness to my existing practice. The book is easily accessible and user friendly, bringing clarity and confidence to an often difficult and complex subject matter. Useful for the practitioner, the concerned other and the loved one (using drugs/alcohol)."Darren McEvoy KWADS (Knowle West Alcohol and Drug Service) senior practitioner)

    "The Concerned Other addresses the dual challenges of helping a family member not only support their loved one into treatment and beyond, but also to restore the equilibrium necessary to live a fulfilling life in their own right. This manual gives clear guidance for interventions at any level of the recovery process and should be regarded as essential for any professional working in with families affected by substance misuse."Family and Carers' Service Coordinator

    "This is a substantial resource. It provides a theoretical rationale for the approach, drawing on relevant research and the wider literature base, together with practical exercises and worksheets for taking the practice forward...

    "It is likely to be a popular resource in a number of agencies. I would anticipate that less experienced practitioners will follow the guidance quite systematically, while more experienced workers may well adapt parts of it to suit their own style and approach... (It) should be a worthwhile investment for any organisation charged with helping to reduce or eliminate the problematic use of drugs and alcohol."Neil Thompson in Well-being

    For a video on work done by an agency that uses the programme that is in The Concerned Other, please click here.

    Comments on this video on youtube include:
    "An excellent portrayal of how someone else's substance misuse can impact on one's life, and how a good helping agency can provide support and assistance to 'concerned others' - not just close family, but also close friends - in ways which strengthen them and allow them both to hope, and to move on. Well done this film-maker, and KWADS." Richard Velleman

    "A wonderful portrayal of the journey of a hugely hidden group of people (Concerned Others) who often have no hope and whose lives are as damaged as the problematic drug/alcohol user themselves. Research shows that when Concerned Others find support for themselves this greatly improves the quality of their own life but also hugely improves the chances of their loved ones reducing consumption and entering treatment for themselves. What a moving film, thankyou." Darren McEvoy