Family therapy involves a therapist and family members to better solve family conflict or dysfunction. The end result is often better understanding, more peace, and a stronger dynamic. Providing family support via therapy gives the individual in recovery a sense of comfort during a time of hardship.
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The Value of Family Therapy
Family therapy is beneficial to help reconstruct family issues. Unfolding topics such as these can help to restore balance and the wellbeing of the family in therapy. Family plays a vital role in helping people recover from substance abuse. Providing family support via therapy gives the individual in recovery a sense of comfort during a time of hardship. Furthermore, those battling addictions can value extra support as they recover, using family input to focus on improvements.
Family therapy can be especially helpful for families affected by substance abuse. Although family members may feel difficult feelings like stress and frustration in seeing a loved one struggle, having them around can prove to be a valuable asset in recovery. Additionally, it has a focus on varying family-related themes that impact the family, including:
- Marital challenges
- Substance abuse
- Conflict resolution
- Relationship dynamics
- Health problems
- Mental health in family dynamics
- Addiction stigmas
- LGBTQ challenges (e.g. problems at school, self-image)
- Emotional problems
- Financial problems
- Communication problems
- Improved family functioning
How Is Family Therapy Helpful In Addiction Recovery?
Family therapy allows for relatives to be present in counseling and intervention. Unlike one-on-one counseling that patients seeking recovery receive, it includes relatives to provide insight to facilitate resolution. For example, such information can be on how the individual in recovery behaved in both helpful and harmful ways in the family dynamic, how relatives may have felt throughout experiences, as well as relatives providing helpful information on relationships during childhood. Additionally, relatives can determine if they have been helpful or harmful in one’s addiction.
Roles like codependent family members, the scapegoat (who takes the blame for all issues), the abuser, or the hero all play parts in how someone can experience addiction. For example, the scapegoat may take most of the responsibility for an addicted relative’s behavior and the codependent parent can be considered an enabler for drug abuse. Such family dynamics can be complicated for the average person to identify; however, professionals can better assess each person’s role. With a medical professional or interventionist present, everyone from the relative to the person seeking treatment can all see ways they have contributed to various problems. In such cases, family members can have structured sessions and gain insight on tools and helpful activities for growth.
Family therapy includes relatives to provide insight to facilitate resolution. The end result can be closer relationships and resolved conflict.
Types of Practices
Treatment for underlying problems that emerge in therapy exists in several formats. Furthermore, they include specific techniques to strengthen family connections and repair the overall wellbeing of family members. Typically, there are 4 main types of family therapy practices, all focusing on specific problems and providing solutions. According to Laney Cline King, a social worker credited for developing types of family therapy, the 4 main commonly used approaches include:
Bowenian family therapy is ideal for people who do not want family involvement in their recovery for personal reasons. Systemic therapy hones in on unconscious communication and underlying meanings behind certain actions. Additionally, the therapist may observe how the family interacts in this scenario. Structural therapy enhances the family dynamic by keeping parents in the position of authority. Furthermore, it can include boundary setting and active therapist involvement. Lastly, strategic family therapy provides members of each session tools for growth like “assignments” and the therapist is more involved. Other methods of problem solving exist depending on the family therapist and can include more approaches to therapy.
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Practices in Family Therapy
Family therapy introduces new ways of relating to family members, or close friends who may be embraced like family. Aside from the therapist observing and notating subconscious or challenges within dynamics, the therapist can also introduce approaches like:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Role playing
- Open emotional expression
- Writing letters to self or others
- Communication techniques
- Providing step-by-step methods for improving relationships
- Including holistic care to support growth
- Increased family connection
- Restructuring of dynamics
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be present in some facilities along with family practices. This method allows for emotional regulation by allowing someone to be mindful of behaviors and other factors involved with the problem. It can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, for example, coping with grief or loss and better understanding what gets them in a reactive emotional state.
In the case of family intervention for substance abuse, family members would have a qualified specialist present, along with the relative fighting a substance use disorder. The objective would be to openly discuss the impact both the relative and their lifestyle has had on the family.
As a result of the above techniques, family members can reframe anger, pain, and other emotions and gain a deeper awareness of how to resume a healthy family function. Furthermore, family members can gain self-awareness and transform relationships with themselves and others.
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Finding a quality family therapist can help in mending a broken family and enhance connections. If a loved one is abusing harmful chemicals, finding a family therapist can be even more beneficial to get to the root of problems. Contact a treatment provider risk-free and discover how treatment and counseling can enhance the quality of your life.