Family LAB


Learning about self and family system.
Attending to emotions, beliefs, and communication.
Behavior changes that promote individual and family growth.

Change. It is a word we use a lot but often we forget that is not simply one thing.

Change comes in many forms. At Hanley, we seek to help people find the change they want and need on many different levels.

When people have internal spiritual awakenings and find themselves awakened and reconnect to life when they had been disconnected and feeling like they were mad, this is referred to as psychic change. This is life transforming change that can happen no matter what else happens around a person.

When people change something they are doing in order to make a situation better or to keep a problem from getting worse, this is referred to as first order change. When siblings are yelling at each other and the parent takes action to stop the yelling, that is a first order change. These are relevant and important, though on their own, will not often create lasting change.

One important reason for this is that people are not islands unto themselves. We exist in systems called families and those systems tend to resist change even if it seems like change
would be positive and necessary. Since people are parts of the system, lasting change can be difficult if only one part of the system changes.

Second order change is when there is change in the way the entire family system works.

Second order change is more than just making a change in a moment. It is restructuring how our family systems operate to make them work better.

Sounds great! So…how do you make that happen?

Often, the starting point for second order change is smaller first order changes. First order change tends to happen when people have new experiences or gain new knowledge. Psychoeducational intensives are one-half-day to three-day structured learning events where individuals and families can come to learn about themselves and the systems they live in. It is a time to practice implementing new knowledge and to have experiences that reinforce personal exploration and learning.

Family L.A.B.

For second order change to happen in a family, the family must first understand how their system functions. This happens through a process of family assessment where a therapist
guides the family through a process of discovering and often uncovering the inner workings of their system.

Once a family can objectively look at a visual representation of their family machine, they can begin the process of goal setting to identify specific changes in their family system that would improve how it functions.

Armed with an understanding of what is happening and what key areas they want to change, families will meet in-person or virtually for relationally focused therapy weekly for 4 to 6 weeks. In between sessions, families will have homework assignments that will help them work towards their goals.

As part of the therapy process and with the express consent of everyone involved, Family LAB sessions are video/audio recorded and used for clinical supervision and training.

Clinical supervision (the process of having one therapist view another’s work to provide objective feedback) is best accomplished through viewing recorded sessions. Similar to a
teaching hospital, the Family Lab is designed both to help families grow and flourish and also to help therapists improve how they work with families.

All recordings are protected by federal law as part of the medical record and are permanently destroyed after viewing or after 30 days, whichever comes first.

Sounds great! So…how do families get to you?

Families are referred to the Family Lab by Hanley Center therapists or Family Program team. An individual in the family will receive an email with a link to complete a brief intake and consent and will then be scheduled by phone for the initial session which will last around 90 minutes.

Sounds great! So…can you see an individual?

Yes. However, the primary focus of the Family Lab is on helping to assess the system and promote second order change. So, the focus will be both on the individual and on their system.

Sounds great! Is there an extra charge for this service?

For calendar year 2023, there is no additional fee for this service to patients and family members of Hanley Center.

Family LAB Intake and Consent

Family Genogram Information

Communication Session

Setting Goals


Family Assessment Short Form (Family LAB Version) 

Hanley Resource Center

Hanley’s Early History

Jack and Mary Jane Hanley retired to Palm Beach County in the early 1980s and discovered the prevalent need for a facility dedicated to quality substance use disorder treatment. Through the couple’s visionary leadership, Hanley Foundation and Hanley Center were established.

Hanley started healing families in 1984 in West Palm Beach, Florida, as the result of one family’s gratitude for addiction treatment and recovery. The story of our start is one of hope and a desire to help others.

Relief begins today. Contact an Admissions Specialist at 561.841.1033 to get started.

Hanley Center: Most Insurance Accepted

Address: 933 45th Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33407