Family & Couples Program


We understand the important role relationships have in successful treatment outcomes. As family members and partners of our clients, you are part of the solution. Our services are not just designed to help your loved one. We are also here to assist you in your efforts to find your own peace.

Family Program

Our Family Program is essential to loved ones of our clients so that they can learn about addiction, understand its impact on their relationships, begin the process of healing from emotional burn-out, and focus on how to prepare for life after their loved one completes residential treatment.

Our Family Program facilitators provide concrete skills and information that will help families build on their own existing strengths and provide them with a road-map for the healing journey ahead.

Couples Program

During the Couples Program, the challenges of rebuilding relationships impacted by addiction are discussed such as re-establishing intimacy and communication and overcoming obstacles in the relationship rebuilding process. Participants in the Couples Program will examine old patterns and find ways to change them prior to returning home together.

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In our experience, we find that loved ones who attend the Family & Couples Program have a significant advantage over families and individuals who do not attend some form of family or marital therapy. By changing the family dynamic at home, clients are better equipped in maintaining the positive change achieved during treatment.

Why We Added the Couples Program

Sunshine Coast Health Centre originally had just the Family Program. However, spouses and partners in the Family Program would often request separate counselling dedicated exclusively to marital issues. The program has since grown and taken on a life of its own to the point where word-of-mouth between clients is all that it takes to fill available seats in the Couples Program.

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One important difference between the Family Program and Couples Program is the participation of the family member in treatment. Clients in our programs join their partners in the Couples Program, but not in the Family Program.

Family members and partners often share overlapping issues in the healing journey, but there are many specific issues that relate only to couples impacted by addiction. For example, partners of people with addictions often feel that they have experienced a profound betrayal of some sort since they believe that their spouse/partner has “chosen” alcohol or drugs over their relationship. For this reason, an important starting point in the couple’s journey to healing is learning how to overcome resentment while also rebuilding trust in the relationship.

Finally, the Family Program is offered on the first 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) while the Couples Program is offered on the 4th day (Monday).

Prerequisite: participants in the Couples Program must first complete the Family Program.

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SCHC’s family program is designed for the family, not the client. We want to help you discover how you have been making sense of your loved one’s addiction and how you have dealt with it. We’ll give you a new way of thinking to help you cope better.

This program is primarily educational rather than therapeutic. The Code of Ethics is quite clear: Don’t bring up anything you can’t resolve. Some family issues are very complex, and it would be unethical to pretend we could deal with them in three or four days.

We encourage you to research local clinics and therapists in your hometown. We can also help connect you with practitioners in your community.


The Family and Couples Program has a positive tone. We adhere to scientific and therapeutic best practices. All information provided in the program is based on a evidence-based research.

For example, you will not hear us talk about “co-dependence”. Although this word shows up in many books and websites, researchers have never found any evidence to support it.

Similarly, you will not hear us tell you that you are an “enabler” inadvertently helping your loved one maintain addiction.

The reality is that family members are very likely doing the best they can to deal with a very baffling and emotionally-draining condition that their loved one is suffering from.


Please see the Family & Couples Program Activity Schedule.


Sunshine Coast Health Centre offers the Family & Couples program once a month.

For information on the next available dates for the Family & Couples Program visit our Facebook calendar. To register for the Family & Couples program please call 1(866) 487-9050 ext. 209 or e-mail


The Family & Couples Program is held on site in our Renewal Center, the building closest to the ocean. You can park your car on the sides of the driveway. The building is open at 7:45am and you are welcome to join us for a continental breakfast prior to group starting at 8:30am each day.

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Visit our Travel to Powell River section for air and car travel directions, accommodation, car rentals, and more!

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There is no charge for participation in the Family & Couples Program. Participants need not have a family member, spouse, or work colleague in treatment. For more information, see our Fee Schedule.

Travel expenses such as plane fare, ferry fares, gas, accommodation¹, and evening meals² are the responsibility of Family & Couples Program participants

¹ Sunshine Coast Health Centre does not provide accommodations for Family & Couples Program participants.
² Continental breakfast and lunch is included. Participants are responsible to make their own dinner arrangements.

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Clients may have a maximum of three family members who can attend Family Program at one time so that all clients have an opportunity to have a family member present. However, family members exceeding three will be wait-listed and contacted if the program does not reach capacity of 20 participants. There is no deadline for family members and partners to participate, even after their family member completes residential treatment.

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Please note that Sunshine Coast Health Centre does not provide daycare to participants with infants and young children. However, we have some suggestions depending on the age of your child:

Children Seven Months or Younger

If you have a child seven months old or younger, we recommend a grandparent or someone with whom the child is comfortable with also be present as a participant. That way, if your child requires attention he/she can be removed with a minimum of disruption to the group and will allow you to continue on with your own participation.

Children Eight Months to Three Years Old

If a child is 8 months to 3 yrs old, the father of the child (the client in treatment) can stay with his child while the mother is in the Family Program. This is difficult on the 4th day, Monday, when both parents need to be in the Couples Program. It is suggested that during the Couples Program a grandparent or other family member provide child supervision.

Note: Other clients are not permitted to look after children even if they agree to provide supervision.

Children Four to Fourteen Years Old

If the child is ages 4-14 and can recreate independently, then they are welcome to play in a nearby activity room located inside the Renewal Center. Please bring a bag with toys such as books, colouring books, crayons, dolls, action figures, and toy cars.

Note: Noise must be kept to a minimum. Children who require ongoing attention, entertainment, or supervision will disrupt other participants in the Family & Couples Program.

Children Fifteen Years and Older

Teens ages 15 and over are welcome to participate in the Family & Couples Program. Please consider carefully whether your child, regardless of age, is emotionally capable of participating.

A Final Note on Day Care

Please be respectful of your fellow participants who may be in crisis and need our help without distraction. The above arrangements will work ONLY if you are confident that noise & distraction will be kept to a minimum. The Family & Couples Program facilitator is responsible to ensure that program content is delivered completely and on schedule. Disruptive children will be asked to vacate the Renewal Center at the discretion of the Family & Couples Program facilitator.

If you have any questions or feel you have a unique situation regarding your child, call us toll-free at 1-866-487-9050 and ask to speak with the Family Program Facilitator.

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Participants who complete the family & couples program also qualify for weekly online support with topics specific to families such as maintaining boundaries, personal growth, supporting a loved one in recovery, and many more. As with online alumni support, participants have the opportunity to provide feedback which is promptly reviewed by the director of clinical and family services. Currently, this free program is available to family members for as long as they maintain a valid e-mail address with Sunshine Coast.

For more information refer to the Online Support section.
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The family component fits beautifully with a holistic approach to addiction treatment and it would be incomplete without it. I found it very useful to me personally, and I know that it will help me to support Glen in his recovery in a productive way. I found the information enlightening, the skills practical, and the warm camaraderie with people who had been through the same sort of thing a great source of comfort. I find myself with a new sense of calm, and confidence in our future, that I haven’t felt in a long time. I would recommend this program to anyone with addiction in their life. In fact, Glen and I have talked about how useful it would be for most anyone, regardless of the addiction component.


I would have never said that a year and a half could make such a difference. We went from crisis, near suicide, denial, stress, anxiety, pain, and suffering to joy, hope, pride, happiness, and health in such a short period of time. It’s still a long road ahead for my husband’s recovery, but we are prepared for it now. People are commenting on how lovely it is to see my children smile again. Doesn’t that just say it all. My children are smiling.


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Our clinical staff finds that significant others who attend the Family & Couples Program have a significant advantage in being prepared for life after treatment.

Please note, however, that the Family & Couples Program is designed to be a primer class that provides some positive relationship rebuilding skills. It is NOT a replacement for family or marital therapy, nor a cure-all for relationship difficulties. Sunshine Coast Health Centre can refer you to a couples counsellor or marital therapist in your home community if you desire ongoing relationship counselling.

Please refer to the Family & Couples Quick Facts for a printable version of this page.

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Please note that participants are required to refrain from use of any alcohol or drugs during participation in the Family Program.

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I arrived at SCHC a broken frightened man. I was met by some of the kindest people I have ever had the fortune of meeting. Souls that could understand how mine was broken. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to spend seven weeks here. I have never cried so much in all my life, and on the other hand, I have never laughed so much. I have seen disappointment and I have seen tremendous growth and success. I have discovered close relationships that I never knew existed. There are experiences that you carry for life and I know that my stay here will be one. You have all helped me to discover who I am. Most importantly, you have all helped me to stay sober and clean, one day at a time.

- Fort McMurray, AB

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