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Review of "How to Change Someone You Love"

By Brad Lamm
St. Martin's Press, 2010
Review by Sandra L. Ceren, Ph.D. on Feb 22nd 2011
How to Change Someone You Love

Brad Lamm, a registered addiction specialist and interventionist writes a refreshingly compassionate, open, honest optimistic book designed to help family and friends effect change in their addicted loved one.  Addiction includes alcohol, drugs, internet usage, gambling, shopping, and other activities that provide a “high, but are self-destructive.  Sharing his own experiences with addiction, he describes how he evolved from addiction to helping others utilize his process for change.

His method runs counter to the twelve step program of Alcohol Anonymous and other such organizations which believe that addicts must first hit bottom before they are amenable to change. This can be a very long and painful wait on the part of caring friends and relatives.

Lamm debunks the myths attached to that premise. He believes that a group of caring people equipped with appropriate tools can make a profound difference in an addict’s life.  Mainly, he believes that when addicts feel this support, encouragement and respect, benefits will ensue--and he has experiences to prove it.

He acknowledges that the addict’s behavior hurts those that care about him.  Rather than waiting anxiously for a loved one to hit bottom, Lamm suggests joining a support group.  He provides information on his website where readers can locate various support groups:

His experience shows that it is possible to stop an addict before he hits bottom.  It gives hope to the addict’s loved ones and as such is worthy of the effort.  It is better than standing by feeling powerless.

He believes that people can change when offered a loving plan which includes encouragement, respect, acceptance, compassion, trust and support.  The plan does not require the services of a psychologist or counselor.  He believes a registered interventionist has the necessary tools. While this may be true in many circumstances, professionals may take issue as there may be physical or emotional components creating complications which contribute to the addiction that should be addressed.

Lamm offers four easy to follow steps that resemble other intervention processes,

   1. Craft a Circle of Change.  Friends and family  have the power to effect  change in the addict’s  behavior

   2. Deliver the invitation to change

   3. Champion the  change

   4. Care of yourself

This optimistic book is designed to help loved ones of addicts to acknowledge their own needs during the process of helping to effect change in a family member or friend. It is an easy read.


© 2011 Sandra L. Ceren


Sandra L. Ceren, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Diplomate, American Board of Family Psychology, Fellow, Academy of Family Psychology, Author Essentials of Premarital Counseling


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