Strengthen The Bonds Of Your Inner Circle with Family Therapy for Addiction
Mental health concerns and substance abuse issues hurt more than just the person experiencing them. These disorders also have a devastating effect on families, disrupting the harmony, dynamics, health, and well-being of each and every family member.
Building a strong family support system is a key part of the addiction recovery process. Family therapy for drug addiction or mental illness addresses the lasting trauma of substance abuse or mental illness with spouses, partners, siblings, children, and caregivers, ensuring everyone can address the problems and find a healthier way forever.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or mental health disorders, you don’t have to do it alone. Regain your family harmony while creating a steadfast support network at Epiphany Wellness.
What Is Family Therapy for Addiction?
Family therapy – also known as family counseling – is a treatment approach that assists family members, such as spouses, partners, and children, with the effects of substance abuse or mental illness.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), family therapy addresses the family unit as one individual in therapy, considering the dynamics and challenges as though they were a single client.
Family counseling can be used to treat many different mental health conditions and the lasting effects of addiction, including stress, grief, and anger. As a group guided by a licensed mental health professional or treatment provider, adults and children can learn to communicate better and find a healthier way of coping with stress or conflict.
Family Therapy Information
How Can Family Therapy Help?What We Treat
Mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and substance use disorder take a toll on not just the person suffering but the whole family. After negative experiences with these conditions, family members develop resentment, anger, distrust, fear, disappointment, or worry that can damage the relationship. As a result, the family can’t move forward – even after recovery is completed successfully.
If these underlying emotions aren’t addressed, they can become all-encompassing, creating problems and ongoing trauma or conflict with interpersonal relationships, professional growth, and academic achievement. This applies to everyone, including the one working through recovery.
Often, families are ill-equipped to handle these problems on their own. Enlisting the help of a family therapist provides an objective, neutral party to guide everyone – without judgment, blame, or taking sides.
Some circumstances that warrant family therapy include:
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Family conflict
- Behavioral problems in young children or adolescents
- Financial pressure and stress
- Serious illnesses or death in the family
- Separation or divorce
- Long-term care of a special-needs family member
Family therapy isn’t limited to these situations, however. It’s defined more by the dynamic than its cause.
What Are the Benefits of Family Therapy?
If you’re struggling with mental health or substance use issues and dysfunction, family is an important part of achieving your recovery goals. Family therapy can help you on your path to wellness in many ways, including:
- Better treatment adherence
- Less codependency
- Improved treatment retention
- A deeper understanding of the treatment and recovery process
- A better grasp of mental health conditions and how they affect family dynamics
- Awareness of relapse risk and prevention
- Improved family functioning
- Improved behaviors, communication, and support
- A better support system within the family
- More accountability for each family member’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health
What Is a Family Therapy Session Like for Addiction?Learn About Us
Before therapy can begin, the therapist or family counselor will speak with everyone to fully understand the situation, the current challenges, and how the experience has been received by each family member. The therapist may also go over past attempts at therapy and any interventions that the members believe were helpful or unhelpful in addressing the struggles.
With a clear picture of the family dynamics, the therapist will develop a tailored treatment plan with goals for the family unit. Generally, these treatment plans involve conflict resolution, open communication, and strong support with skill-building exercises.
Depending on the needs of the individual family, each session can last an hour or more. The number of sessions – and how often the family attends – are determined by the care plan and the therapist.
Who’s a Good Fit for Family Therapy?
Family involvement is a key part of recovery for many people. The skills learned in family counseling for drug addiction or mental illness help members of the family let go of negative thoughts and emotions, learn better communication, and gain the skills to support their loved ones in recovery.
That said, family therapy for substance abuse or mental health is not always the best choice. With severe or prolonged mental health issues or alcohol and drug abuse, the family members may feel emotionally and psychologically drained. Some family members don’t feel comfortable with the openness of family therapy, or they fear retaliation from their loved ones for sharing.
Family therapy only works if everyone commits to therapy on their own terms at the right time. Though family therapy may be indicated as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, family members shouldn’t feel forced to participate.
Family Therapy Types and Techniques
One of the best aspects of family therapy is its versatility. Depending on the needs of the family members, the treatment process and techniques can be adjusted to promote the best outcomes. Some of the common types of family therapy include:
Family Behavior Therapy (FBT)
Family behavior therapy is used for adults and adolescents who are struggling with alcohol or opioid addiction. Using evidence-based treatments according to a tailored care plan, a family therapist can help family members learn healthier behavioral patterns and coping mechanisms to support full recovery.
Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT)
Behavioral couples therapy is a type of family therapy intended for married or committed couples dealing with substance use disorder (SUD). Whether the SUD is one person or both, BCT includes techniques to discuss the intent to avoid the use of drugs or alcohol in the future, which is then supported by the other partner. This addiction treatment approach is based more on an agreement to stay sober rather than punishment for past behaviors and can improve communication and motivation.
Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
Functional family therapy is useful for families with adolescents who struggle with addiction. It focuses not only on drug or alcohol use but the family’s interactions to identify harmful dynamics that can influence mental health issues. Some of the skills developed in FFT include parenting skills, coping skills, conflict resolution techniques, and communication skills.
Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)
Brief strategic family therapy is intended for families with teens or pre-teens struggling with substance use disorder. The approach and techniques center around positive interventions and family interactions to build more helpful and supportive dynamics.
Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
The multisystemic therapy technique works with adolescents with addiction, violent tendencies, or criminal behaviors. This approach is more goal-oriented and includes strategies to involve the entire family in promoting change according to the unique needs at this stage of life.
Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
Multidimensional family therapy is an approach used for the most severe cases of mental health disorders or addiction in a family system. Often included as part of a tailored, comprehensive mental health or substance use disorder treatment program, multidimensional family therapy involves not only the family but the local school or legal system.
Family Recovery Support Groups
Family recovery support groups provide guidance for family members of someone in an inpatient or outpatient care program. During these meetings, family members can share their thoughts and feelings in a safe space to cope with the struggles of addiction and mental health.
Family Counseling for Addiction and Mental Health at Epiphany Wellness
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or mental illness that’s affecting the whole family, family counseling is a great treatment option. After your assessment and admission, we can help you determine if family therapy should be included in your mental health or substance abuse treatment plan to promote a positive treatment outcome.
Left alone, problems and issues in the family can become pervasive, evolving to become a barrier to healing. The sooner these issues are brought into the light and addressed, the sooner true recovery can begin.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family Therapy
Should Children Be Included in Family Therapy?
This is highly dependent on the situation, the reasons for therapy, and the age of the children. Sometimes, having children involved in the process offers a lot of honesty and perspective. While most family therapy sessions should include children to help them develop strong skill sets for the person in recovery, not every topic is appropriate for young minds.
How Much Is Revealed in Family Therapy?
Some families object to family therapy because they feel that they’re sharing the family’s private business with a stranger. The goal of therapy isn’t to embarrass or shame anyone in the family, however. The clearer view a therapist can get about the family dynamics, the better he or she can provide effective techniques to cope. It’s completely confidential, and the therapist won’t judge.
Do I Have to Attend Family Counseling If I Don’t Have A Mental Illness?
Generally, family therapy is used to support a person with mental health conditions or substance abuse, but it’s not only about them. The purpose of family therapy isn’t to point fingers or shift blame – it’s to find a better way to communicate and confront unresolved issues that could come up in the future.
It’s best if all family members attend therapy together, but it’s not necessary if some family members are not comfortable or engaged. If one family member doesn’t want to be involved, forcing them will only hinder progress.