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Benefits Of Family Therapy For Recovering Addicts

October 5, 2021

Family therapy shouldn’t be overlooked during the recovery process. It is a crucial part of healing as it recognizes that the addiction does not only impact the addicts but their families as well. Their actions have consequences that negatively affected their relationships with their families. The trust is broken and the ability to communicate freely is compromised. 

It is important to mend this relationship as soon as possible because family is a key part of the patient’s emotional support system. One way to do this is through family therapy.

What Is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a kind of psychological counseling that includes all the members of the family. It has the main goal of resolving inner conflicts and reestablishing communication between the members. This type of therapy is administered by a psychologist, therapist, or clinical social worker.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction is classified as a family disease. This is because the effects transcend the addict and reach the entire family. Everyone feels the stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions brought about by an addict. The addiction damages the family’s foundations and disrupts everyone’s routines.

Most families will assume that they do not need family therapy because they feel like the addicted individual is the only one with a problem. This isn’t true and collective healing is essential for a successful recovery. Family therapy is also beneficial not only during the healing process but also in the long run. All of the members can become self-aware and identify the problem areas that they need to work on.

Benefits Of Family Therapy

Provides Education About Addiction

Addiction is not a simple matter of getting hooked up on a harmful substance. The family members require a deeper understanding of it so that they may be able to empathize with the recovering patient. This starts with basic education on all the facets of addiction.

The family members may learn more about what causes addiction as well as the possible triggers during recovery. This inspires them to be more compassionate towards their addicted loved ones. This also allows them to be more understanding of the mood swings or negative behavior that the addicted loved one may exhibit during recovery.

Improves Family Dynamics

Addiction negatively affects family dynamics by breaking the overall trust. The addicted loved one will be viewed with skepticism. This diminishes their confidence in themselves which can backtrack their progress. 

They need their family for support now more than ever. The overall dynamics can be improved if there is a professional mediator that can encourage every family member to be more expressive. In this way, all members can be more understanding of each other so that trust can be rebuilt and regained.

Improves Communication Between The Family Members

As soon as the feeling of trust is broken, so is the family’s confidence in communicating with one another. Some may feel like they need to keep their feelings in since they can no longer trust their addicted loved one. This may escalate into feelings of resentment which can come out in the form of hostile treatment.

Family therapy helps re-establish communication. The psychiatrist can foster communication so that everyone can be more expressive of their feelings and needs. In this way, they can voice out their concerns or alert the rest of the family of their needs.

This is particularly important for the patient. If they feel safe enough to freely communicate, they can come to the rest of the family for moral support and advice. It is also shown that good communication practices have led to more successful recoveries. Everyone can express themselves in a healthy manner without hurting one another, particularly the patient.

Rebuilding Trust In The Family

Trust is a key factor in a successful recovery. Broken trust is a consequence of addiction since the rest of the family no longer feels like the addicted family member is dependable. Family therapy helps by opening up communication which paves the way for positive growth and honesty. 

Boundaries Are Established

Boundaries are likewise important but they are very difficult to establish. Some families may feel the need to coddle their addicted loved one which may reduce the success of recovery. Establishing boundaries allows the family to make the painful yet necessary actions, such as admitting the patient to further treatment or mandating them to cut off communication from drug dealers and other toxic people from their past.

Types Of Family Therapy

Solution-Focused

This type of therapy aims to identify the problems in the family with an intent to solve them. This does not focus on how the problem came to fruition. Rather, it is about finding a remedy for the problem at hand and then ensuring that it does not occur again. This may include strategizing on how to keep the home alcohol- and drug-free.

Multidimensional Therapy

This is usually applied to addiction cases among adolescents. It analyzes the circumstances that led to the addiction. In these sessions, goals are set for the family as well as how to achieve them. The addicted loved one is provided with healthy coping mechanisms and mental tools for them to stay sober.

Behavioral Marital Therapy

This is applied to couples so as to rebuild their relationship. The therapist helps the couple strategize for a clean and substance-free environment. It also helps the couple improve their communication skills so that they can regain their trust in one another.

Multifamily Therapy

This focuses on eliminating the sense of isolation some families may experience. This allows families to meet other families who are in the same plight. This shows them that they are not alone on this journey. They can also seek inspiration from the families that are further down the line on recovery.

Overall, family therapy is a non-negotiable aspect of recovery. It factors in the most important people who are part of the patient’s primary support group. 

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