A single family member can create a shift toward wellness for everyone.

Dr. Perlmutter has dedicated his career to improving life in families with addiction or severe mental illness in their midst. Employing his model of Stress-Induced Impaired Coping {EMBED LINK} and its companion recovery program, he has worked with hundreds of families since first doing so in 1990 at the Boyer House Foundation.

As a self-described Family Systems Psychologist, Dr. P mentors FRI team members to employ systems thinking and techniques into all the work. We embrace Perlmutter’s statement: “Even a single member of a wounded family can make changes to drive the system toward wellness.”

Now, more than ever, powerlessness and despair fuel the nightmare experienced by family members who love someone suffering with addiction or mental illness. Dr. Perlmutter’s forthcoming book, It Stops With Me: Bringing Hope and Healing to Families Devastated by Addiction or Mental Illness, will be published in 2019 by Rowman and Littlefield. The book spells out his model of family system distress and recovery specifically for parents, partners, spouses, siblings, and children experiencing powerlessness and despair. Unlike most books about addiction and families, it rejects the idea of either fixing or marginalizing the addicted or mentally ill loved one. Instead, Perlmutter’s model promotes closeness, connection and the rebuilding of a trustworthy family system embracing core values that work for all members.

The Institute offers Family Systems Treatment in several formats:


At all levels of care, the shared goals are:

  • Create closeness by pursuing connection over being right
  • Get off the emotional rollercoaster
  • Reject “tough love” but learn to set clear boundaries and limits
  • Learn to communicate authentically and to set boundaries confidently and fairly
  • Rebuild trust, authenticity and equality in family relationships
  • Reduce chaos, anxiety and distress in the mind and in the home
  • Achieve wellness for all family members and the system itself

Common situations facing potential client families:

  • Teen or young adult is struggling with mood, food, substances or behavioral problems including self-harm, oppositionalism, truancy, and/or sexual misconduct
  • Teen or young adult seems stuck and going nowhere
  • A member has been experiencing addiction, compulsion, or severe mental illness
  • A member is returning from or requiring intensive treatment
  • Members are suffering and disconnected in the face of recent or chronic losses
  • Criminal behavior, betrayal, violence or other trauma have altered the system
  • Disorder, distraction, disconnection, or deprivation saturate the family environment

Whatever your family situation, one or more of our Family Systems-based formats will offer hope and healing. Our team’s strength lies in its collaborative, interactive, open structure. We often do our most effective work when family members make use of more than one service; for example, having a problem-plagued member work with one of us individually while the family overall participates in family sessions, workshops or intensives and/or the parents attend the parent therapy group. Our team meets regularly to review our cases, hone our skills, and maintain integrity and fidelity to highest ethical principles.

Please call 415-322-0939 for a phone consultation, or email us, or schedule an initial session on our client portal at www.FamilyRecoveryInstitute.com.