Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the family system as it relates to an individual’s addiction. It can be used as part of a treatment plan, or as a stand-alone therapy. The goal of family therapy in addiction treatment is to help the patient understand how their substance use disorder (SUD) affects their family and how their family has affected their SUD. This helps individuals improve unhealthy behaviors while giving every member of their family a voice.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a form of counseling that involves working with families to identify their strengths and weaknesses, build healthy relationships, improve communication skills, and teach coping strategies. Family therapists use many different techniques to accomplish these goals. Some common methods include role-playing, problem-solving, conflict resolution, cognitive restructuring, behavioral modification, emotional expression, assertiveness training, and mindfulness.
If you decide to work with a therapist, you will need to choose one who specializes in treating families. A family counselor will work closely with the entire family to identify the root causes of the addiction. They will then develop a treatment plan designed for your specific situation.
A lot of people think that family therapy only involves children and teens. However, many families struggle with addiction long after the initial stages of treatment. For example, a mother may still be dealing with her own addictions, while trying to care for her child(ren) and keep a roof over their head.
In order to effectively treat your addiction, you must first address the underlying issues within your family unit. If there are no changes made, you might continue to have problems following your initial treatment program.
Benefits of Family Therapy
In the past, family therapy was used as a treatment option only when other treatments had failed or were not working. However, today it is recognized that family therapy can be a beneficial and cost-effective treatment option for many different types of problems.
The benefits of family therapy include:
- It helps families to understand their roles in addiction and how they can help each other cope in healthy ways.
- It helps families learn about themselves so that they are better able to deal with life’s stresses.
- It teaches them how to communicate effectively with one another.
- It provides support for families who need extra help coping with the stress of having someone with substance abuse problems in the home.
- It helps families develop healthy ways to handle conflict.
- It gives parents tools to teach children appropriate behavior and values.
- It helps people work on their self-esteem and confidence.
- It allows individuals to explore their feelings without being judged by others.
Who Benefits From Family Therapy?
Anyone who has a loved one struggling with drug or alcohol addiction may benefit from family therapy. Families often feel confused, frustrated, angry, sad, guilty, afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, and helpless. They may also have trouble communicating effectively with each other. These feelings are normal when someone close to us struggles with substance abuse. But if they go untreated, these emotions can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, hostility, violence, self-destructive behavior, relationship issues, and even suicide.
The Importance of Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment
When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, the disease takes over his/her brain and body. As a result, the person loses control over his/her thoughts, actions, emotions, and impulses. He/she may become violent, abusive, depressed, anxious, impulsive, or withdrawn. The addict’s family members may experience similar symptoms because of the impact the addiction has on them.
Addiction affects everyone in the family, including siblings, spouses, partners, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, and extended family members. Everyone feels hurt, upset, worried, scared, and sometimes angry. Many times, family members do not know what to do to help their loved one overcome the addiction. This is where family therapy comes into play.
Family therapy works best when all parties involved are willing to participate and open up to the process. If you are considering this type of therapy, here are some things you should know:
- You must be willing to talk openly about your feelings.
- You will likely have to share personal information about yourself.
- You will need to discuss your family history and any previous experiences with substance abuse.
- You will probably have to make changes in your lifestyle.
- You may have to change how you communicate with your loved ones.
- You will most likely have to accept that there is no quick fix to the problem.
- You may find it helpful to join a 12 Step group such as AA or NA.
- You have to understand that recovery is an ongoing process.
Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment in Denver, CO
At Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado, we will help you work through your concerns and fears by providing a safe environment where you can learn new ways to cope with life’s challenges. We will teach you skills that will allow you to get back on track and live a productive, happy, and healthy life. To learn more about our therapy options or to get started on the road to recovery today, give us a call or visit our contact form.