When a loved one is abusing drugs and alcohol, it affects the entire family. Watching a family member constantly put their health and life at risk is harrowing, and the regular arguing and emotional challenges are frustrating and draining. Family therapy is critical to repair addiction’s emotional wounds and develop more productive, respectful ways of communicating with each other.
You can help your loved one recover from substance abuse by participating in family therapy. It’s a critical component of a comprehensive addiction treatment program for two primary reasons:
Keeping family relationships healthy takes work, especially when dealing with addiction.
Family addiction counseling helps people:
Family therapy for substance abuse has multiple benefits, such as:
Setting Clear Treatment Goals
Families dealing with addiction are stressed. Emotions run high, and they probably have for a long time. It’s easy to lose sight of the main issue. Although the focus is on substance abuse, getting back to how it started is crucial. Substance abuse is a symptom of a deeper problem. In family therapy, you’ll explore the root causes of substance use. You’ll identify collective and personal goals. Your family therapist will keep you on track to reaching those goals.
Your family therapist will teach and model how to talk respectfully to each other. Changing your language can go a long way toward getting your message across to your loved one.
Promoting Personal and Family Wellness
Addiction can cause you to sacrifice self-care and quickly leaves emotional wounds. Family therapy is structured to address the needs of each family member. Some emotional needs may come about, such as the desire to accept, forgive, or move on. As each family member builds their emotional wellness, the family’s overall health can improve.
If you’ve never been in counseling, you may feel apprehensive about family therapy for substance abuse. Many people fear being blamed or having to reveal more than they want. The truth is family addiction counseling is as much for you as your addicted loved one. A family therapist can help you express how your loved one’s addiction has impacted your life. They’ll help you sort through any anger, guilt, sadness, or grief you’re feeling.
Family therapy for substance abuse typically includes:
Family therapy for substance abuse may take place in a variety of forms, such as:
There are several family therapy models. Common ones include:
Residential treatment centers usually have family programs. The type of programming offered varies but may include some or all of the following:
Many outpatient rehab centers offer some of the options above. Others focus on group sessions with all the clients’ family members coming together with a facilitator. These groups primarily educate families about addiction while providing insight into areas family members can work with an individual therapist more deeply.
There are no set rules about who should be involved in family addiction counseling and who shouldn’t. Traditionally, the immediate family attends, but “family” has lots of different meanings these days. In SAMHA’s guide to family therapy for people with addiction, family is defined as “a group of two or more people with close and enduring emotional ties.”
Family therapy can be a turning point for your relationship with your addicted loved one and other family members. A family therapist is specially trained to help you identify issues that have always been there, but that addiction has brought to the surface. Family therapy can be emotionally uncomfortable, but that’s where the work gets done. Suppose you devote yourself to the process and open yourself to learning new ways of functioning as an individual and family. In that case, you can have more fulfilling relationships with your loved ones.
Prepare for family therapy by making a list of questions to ask the family therapist so you understand their style and what you can expect in sessions.
You may also consider journaling or making a list of the following:
These topics will naturally arise in family therapy, but gathering your thoughts about them ahead of time can give you a good starting point and help you communicate to the therapist what you’d like to focus on.
Participating in individual therapy can also help you in family therapy. An individual therapist will help you further process the emotions in family therapy. They can also help you determine what issues you should bring to family therapy or discuss issues you’re not yet ready to get to those sessions.
If your loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help. We’re committed to supporting our clients as they heal from substance abuse. True healing often involves loved ones as well. Reach out today to see how we can help.
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