Addiction is a sickness that runs in families. Family members might unwittingly harm a person with a drug use problem by enabling them, or they can play a key role in assisting their loved one in recovering from substance addiction with the aid of a family therapist. In therapy, confronting problems that have caused resentments, misunderstandings, and alienation can help restore balance and the well-being of the family. Family therapy can aid in the resolution of family difficulties and maladaptive transgenerational tendencies. Providing family support via therapy may be an important element of recovery for both the addict and the family as a whole.
Family counseling can be especially beneficial for families dealing with substance misuse. Sharing unpleasant emotions (such as fear, anger, disappointment, stress, humiliation, and frustration) in a secure therapy setting may be transformative for family and individual healing.
Is Family Therapy Necessary?
Numerous addiction treatment centers provide family counseling. Unlike other forms of therapy, such as individual therapy for co-occurring illnesses or a 12-step program, family therapy is intended to be temporary. In general, family therapy sessions last 50 minutes to an hour and last around 12 sessions. Family therapy addresses specific family events and personalities. Finally, family therapy does not resolve all of a family’s interpersonal conflicts. It focuses on putting family members in a better position to resolve future conflicts among themselves.
As previously said, addiction is a family illness. Family therapy enables all members of the family unit to participate in counseling and intervention. In preparation for all family members coming together in family therapy, one-on-one counseling may be used to offer individual insights with the therapist. Family therapy allows family members to discuss their experiences with one another as well as their thoughts about those experiences. During the rehabilitation process, family members might realize if they were helpful as they planned or unwittingly damaging in their loved one’s addiction.
The Different Types of Family Therapy:
Supportive family therapy:
In supportive family therapy, family members are encouraged to interact honestly and frankly with one another, with the help of a therapist who acts as a moderator and advisor. Occasionally, the therapist acts as a referee, preventing family members from bullying or neglecting one another.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
In CBT-based family therapy, the therapist works with family members to help them in changing their behavior and cognitive patterns in order to resolve family difficulties. Family members are frequently assigned homework to assist them in improving their patterns outside of treatment.
Systemic family therapy:
The therapist uses this strategy to gain a thorough understanding of the family system, dynamics, attitudes, and concepts in order to identify the family’s overall problems. Then they begin helping family members in finding happiness with one another while maintaining acceptable expectations of one another as human beings.
The application of psychodynamic concepts:
Certain therapists employ psychodynamic concepts to peer into the mind of a family member and use these underlying beliefs to unearth hidden difficulties.
As a consequence of the techniques described above, family members can reframe their anger, sorrow, and other emotions and get a better understanding of how to restart a healthy family function. Family members can also acquire self-awareness and alter their relationships with themselves and others.
What Does it Focus On?
Everyone, from the relative to the individual seeking therapy, becomes aware of how they have contributed to different difficulties within the family dynamic when a medical expert or interventionist is present. In such instances, family members might participate in organized sessions to enhance communication, address disputes, and foster healing and growth.
Family therapy can focus on varying presenting problems and topics as determined by the family therapist, including, but not limited to:
- Marital strain
- Conflict resolution
- Substance abuse
- Health concerns
- Relationship dynamics
- Mental health
- Domestic violence
- Addiction stigmas
- LGBTQ challenges (e.g., acceptance, problems at home and school)
- Communication problems
- Financial problems
- Improved family functioning