Many people hesitate to try family therapy because they fear sharing family secrets or airing grievances in front of a stranger. Other people may be in denial about the dysfunctions at home. If you are ready for family therapy, do you know how to get other family members on board to go through this experience? You can motivate them and enact healthy changes in your family system with adequate knowledge.
Why Should You Involve Family Members During Recovery?
Many understand that recovery includes detox, residential rehab, outpatient resources, and aftercare. In general, the recovering individual is the only person who participates in these treatments.
However, this is not all there is to a successful recovery. Everyone needs support from family members. In some situations, recovery may depend on including family members in the treatment and recovery process through therapy. This is especially true when a young person is going through recovery. This person needs to do the hard work to change, but for that change to be sustainable, parents, siblings, and other significant family members must be included.
Benefits of Family Therapy
Substance use disorder (SUD) affects not just the person who has it but also the people around them. Unhealthy relationship dynamics (such as divorce, marital conflict, domestic violence, abuse, and neglect) may have contributed to the disorder. When a recovering individual completes the standard “package” of detox and rehab, they are too often faced with the same unhealthy home environment. This will likely trigger future relapses.
Young people in recovery can feel more supported if there can be a healthy shift in the family relationship dynamic. It is easier for them to maintain sobriety with the support of those close to them. This shift is achieved through family therapy. The most common benefits of family therapy include restored or improved communication, healthy emotional boundaries, and readjusted roles and responsibilities, to name a few.
When Some People Are Reluctant to Begin Family Therapy
Many families would do anything to support their young loved one in recovery. But, unfortunately, some people do hesitate. The reluctance may involve discomfort over talking to a stranger about family issues. Other times it’s because they may feel exhausted from dealing with each other and can’t fathom putting a magnifying glass on the issues in therapy.
Sometimes there are deeper, more hidden causes, such as past or intergenerational trauma people don’t want to dig into. To motivate people in this situation, one must help them deal with the shame and triggers. If they are open to an initial conversation with a therapist, the therapist can explain to them how coping with trauma may significantly improve their well-being. Ignoring the problem will only prolong the impact on them and the family.
Motivating Family Members for Therapy
Not every family member needs to be involved. The person in recovery could try to begin talking with a few open-minded and supportive people. Once they are on board, the recovering individual can speak to others and let them know who will be joining the sessions and that their presence will make them more effective. Sometimes the supportive family members can recruit more reluctant ones.
For family members who play a vital role in a young person’s recovery but remain resistant, individuals can allow them to sit in a few sessions without speaking. Then, they can decide their comfort level. Because a therapist uses empathy-based approaches to enable family members to collaborate, it may be a few sessions before this family member is willing to share in this space.
Collaborative Strategies Used in Family Therapy
When a family has dysfunctions, these problems appear in family therapy sessions. The key is to get family members to collaborate around common goals. Often, one such goal is to support their loved one’s addiction recovery. Family therapy is necessary because it is a family unit’s self-care.
Trained family therapists understand these issues from a systemic framework. This is the perspective that human relationships in a family unit are reciprocal and mutually impactful. To promote collaboration, a therapist can help identify strengths, both on individual and group levels. Focusing on a family’s problems and weaknesses is not an effective approach.
The strength-based approach helps set a positive tone in these sessions. Another important aspect of effective family therapy is reflective listening. The therapist will summarize the content and meaning of one member’s stories or grievances in a way that feels supportive to that person. Family members may feel surprised after their first session because they often heard, understood, and affirmed for the first time in a long time. This affirmative therapeutic process is essential for a recovering individual and their family members.
If you are looking for an addiction treatment center with a good family therapy program, ensure it takes a proactive approach to get your family members involved. When you do not address relationship dysfunctions in the home, the risk of relapse is real, even for people who have achieved years of sobriety. Laguna Shores Recovery offers strong relapse-prevention planning and a family therapy program to help you continue coping with stress in recovery. We apply evidence-based treatment and adopt an integrated and holistic approach to recovery. Alongside customized treatment plans and support groups, Laguna Shores Recovery also offers aftercare programs that connect you and your loved one with a community of recovering individuals. Call us at (866) 229-9923 today.