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Family Therapy

Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Having a stable, supportive family unit can significantly impact an individual’s ability to achieve long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. It has been proven that positive support systems are a vital determining factor for lasting recovery from drug or alcohol use disorder. Incorporating an individual’s family into their addiction treatment therapy encourages and deepens understanding of their loved one and defines the difference between supportive and enabling behavior. 

In a family therapy session for addiction treatment, the client and their family speak with an addiction therapist to work on conflict resolution, communication, troubling behaviors, or feelings of resentment and distrust. These sessions with the family can also allow the therapist to better gauge a client’s support system outside of treatment and the patterns of addiction or drug use in the family. 

Addiction therapists may integrate different approaches to family therapy. These may include:

  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT): In this strategy, therapists observe how family members interact with one another in sessions, establish a relationship with each family member, and coach the family on how to approach issues in recovery.
  • Family Behavior Therapy (FBT): In FBT, clients and their family members establish a set of behavioral goals for preventing substance use and relapse.
  • Functional Family Therapy (FFT): This strategy addresses problems with communication, problemsolving, and conflict-resolution within the family to reduce stressful or agitating situations and instability. FFT engages and enhances participation in recovery.

By incorporating these strategies into family therapy sessions, clients participating in addiction treatment develop a stable unit they can rely on outside of treatment. Family members also learn the detrimental effects of addiction. This brings a better understanding of the condition of their loved one and ignites a willingness to support them while remaining patient with them in recovery. 

When Does Family Therapy Occur? 

Family therapy has shown effectiveness in virtually all stages of recovery, as a supportive family can encourage clients to remain persistent throughout treatment. However, family therapy is best utilized during outpatient care or as an aftercare service because the client’s emotional state must be stabilized before these stages of treatment. Family therapy has also been proven effective during the later stages of residential treatment as well. 

Importance of Family Therapy

The goal of family therapy is to prepare a client’s family for their return from treatment. Addiction does not only affect the individual but their loved ones as well. Often, loved ones develop PTSD from the behaviors exhibited during active addiction. Addressing the damage addiction caused to a client’s family can strengthen their unit and motivate them to heal together. 

Making sure that clients have a group of loved ones who cheer them on through recovery is one of the priorities of addiction treatment. Laguna Shores Recovery is determined to help anyone in need of treatment from the effects of addiction, including their families. 

Some of the benefits and goals of family therapy include:

  • Addressing complicated feelings: Family therapy can allow clients and their family members to work through feelings of grief, trauma, anger, confusion, stress, and conflict in an environment centered around healing.
  • Building strong support: By working through those complicated feelings, a family can become a system of support for clients upon leaving treatment.
  • Instilling confidence: Once this support system is established, both the client and their family can have the confidence needed to succeed in recovery.
  • Identifying transgenerational patterns: Sometimes, patterns that have been deeply webbed into family interactions can be addressed to help the entire family heal from addiction.

How Do Family Factors Play into Addiction? 

The main risk factors of addiction are genetic and environmental. Through adolescence and early adulthood, much of an individual’s environment involves family members. If addiction is present in the immediate or distant family and a young person is frequently exposed, both their environment and genetics cause an increased risk in the likelihood of developing addiction later in life. 

Genetics: If a client has a family history of addiction, this information can help therapists better understand how and why their client needs help recovering from its effects and abstaining from use. 

Environmental factors: Environmental factors like the presence and acceptance of drug and alcohol use in a childhood home can encourage addiction later in life. The presence of drugs amongst social circles can influence use in individuals as well.

What Is Codependence? 

Codependence is often a topic brought up in family therapy, as each family member can take on a codependent role. Codependence refers to a learned behavior that can be passed down through generations. This behavior can impact an individual’s ability to interact in relationships in a way that is mutually beneficial. 

Codependency is seen in relationships, families, and friendships, as an individual sacrificing their own needs to cater to the needs of their loved ones. It can often be an inherited trait, especially in homes where addiction is present. Family members may find themselves willing to tolerate behaviors that negatively affect their self-worth, well-being, and ability to succeed in their own lives. The codependent’s love for the individual suffering from addiction can become dangerous, and they may confuse helping their loved one with enabling their addiction. 

In family therapy, these codependent behaviors can be addressed and treated to ensure that a client’s relationship with their family incorporates healthy boundaries meant for their success in recovery.  

Family therapy can be beneficial in treating substance use disorders because it helps therapists determine conditions for returning home; it also builds a stronger, healthy family unit and encourages a better understanding of risk factors for addiction. Reach out to Laguna Shores Recovery today to learn more about our programs and the role family plays in treatment at (866) 229-9923.