Many recovering individuals face challenging family dynamics. To some, family crises of one kind or another may be the root cause of their addiction. During recovery, these unhealthy family dynamics may create stress and trigger a relapse. Recovery is a wake-up call that asks the entire family to pause, reflect, and modify their ways. Family therapy can be instrumental in one family member’s recovery from substance use disorder (SUD).
Reason #1: Relational and Emotional Dysfunctions
Some families have difficulty functioning in a normal capacity. This can cause emotional pain and drain all members. Routine events, such as driving the kids to school, may start an argument between parents. Family members tend to display intense emotional reactions toward each other.
These dysfunctions can become a stubborn pattern, and family members may feel stuck. They feel powerless to break the cycle because they have been long immersed in negative emotions. When they are open to working with a family therapist, an expert can inspect these patterns and suggest actional modifications.
Reason #2: Breakdown in Communication
When family dysfunctions persist, people tend to give each other the “silent treatment” as an easier way to avoid verbal conflicts. However, this total cutoff of communication is detrimental to the entire family’s emotional and mental health. Furthermore, it neither solves the issues nor provides room for future improvement.
Working with a family therapist is the best way to rebuild healthy lines of communication. A professionally trained therapist knows how to create a safe space for family members to converse with each other with an eye toward restoration.
Reason #3: Withdrawal From Family Life
Even within the family, some members may develop a pattern of secluding themselves. For example, teenage children may choose not to join the table for meals but to have food in their rooms. A spouse may become absent at home with the excuse of being busy at work. These are signs of untreated family tension or distrust.
With the help of a family therapist, family members can learn to extract candid thoughts from others and use them to drive constructive conversations. This takes time because rebuilding trust among family members can be very challenging. Family therapy can help loved ones identify ways to draw each other back into a circle of trust and heal wounds to encourage family connectivity.
Reason #4: Abusive Behaviors at Home
Sometimes, there may be signs of verbal, emotional, or physical violence at home. Many previously mentioned behaviors, such as the “silent treatment,” can be patterns of emotional abuse. The family unit should be a safe and closely-knit space. Abusive behavior can result in lasting trauma that requires treatment to heal. Many family therapists are trauma-informed because abuse frequently happens within homes. Therefore, they have the toolkit to help an entire family heal from the impact of trauma.
Reason #5: Difficulty Coping With Loss
When a family goes through major events of loss, including natural disasters, divorce, or death in the family, individuals may find it challenging to adjust to the new reality. One single event like this may derail the entire family. A trained family therapist can step in and guide people into healing conversations so each person can settle into the new normal with peace and understanding.
Reason #6: Substance Addiction and Recovery
Many above-mentioned family dynamics exist in homes where some family members have SUD or are in the process of detox and recovery. Family dysfunctions, genetics, and substance use are often interconnected. People may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate after suffering trauma or neglect in the home. On the flip side, drugs or alcohol could be a driving force of trauma or neglect.
Family therapy helps rebuild a recovery-supportive home environment critical for long-term wellness. Toxic family dynamics must be remedied, or the impacts can lead a person to relapse even if they have achieved initial sobriety.
Reason #7: Dual Diagnosis
People with co-occurring conditions of SUD and mental illness need a supportive family. Even if there are no severe dysfunctions in the family, they can rally around the recovering individual to offer more support. With a family therapist, loved ones learn how to best provide a calm and safe environment that is conducive to healing.
Finding the Right Family Therapy
Family therapy supports the entire family to develop healthy boundaries, improve communication, use coping tools, address dysfunctional interactions, and support certain members’ long-term recovery. There are many forms of family therapy, including functional, multisystemic, transgenerational, and structural therapy.
Finding the right family therapist for a given family’s needs takes time. Friends or a primary care doctor may be able to provide a referral. Families can use the introductory session to ask questions and find the right fit. Participation from all family members determines the success of family therapy. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with a therapist who makes each family member feel safe and comfortable.
If there are persistent patterns of relationship dysfunctions in your home, your loved one’s recovery may be at risk. A recovering individual needs all the support they can get, especially from family members. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of building a strong support system through family therapy. We will walk alongside you and your loved ones to offer guidance. Sobriety and long-term recovery are our top priorities. You and your family do not need to struggle alone. Call us today to discover how you and your family can benefit from our recovery and family therapy programs. For more information, call us at (954) 329-1118.