Family support is the most important part of a successful recovery from addiction. However, every family has its share of problems or dysfunctions. For some people in recovery, their family might be the main reason for developing substance use disorder (SUD) and other mental health issues in the first place.
When SUD and family dysfunctions curl into a vicious cycle, the family system cannot grow healthier without external intervention. This is why family therapy can be an extremely valuable tool in improving families where addiction and other dysfunctions are present. Therapy can help a family system become more healthy and recovery-supportive.
Benefit #1: Improved Communication
The health of any relationship depends on the quality of communication between or among each person involved. Many recovering individuals find it hard to communicate their needs with family members. Disconnection, distancing, and even deceptions frequently happen when SUD enters the scene. The vacuum of emotional support at home can become a breeding ground for relapses.
A family therapist can provide tools and encourage members of a family system to open up and listen to each other more constructively. The therapist can provide objective insights into the strengths of each family member, encouraging them to become more honest and caring in communication styles. Similarly, they notice where problems arise and can help family members effectively address and remedy them.
Benefit #2: Stronger Bonds
It’s natural for recovering individuals to experience conflicts with family members. These are stressors that need to be managed. Family members can become so entrenched in their relationship dynamics that they lack the perspective or incentive to repair past wounds or deepen current relationships.
Family therapists are experts in conflict resolution. They apply practical coaching methods for different family members to help them empathize and understand each other. Once these differences are settled, family members can deepen their bonds and use this new relational level to support their loved ones through the challenging recovery journey.
Benefit #3: Rebuilding Self-Esteem
The home is where a person’s sense of self-image and self-esteem develop. Unhealthy family dynamics can result in people feeling bad about themselves. Low self-worth and poor self-esteem are common causes of substance use and SUD.
A family therapist can bring a fresh perspective on how a home environment affects family members’ self-esteem, whether they are the ones in recovery or supporting that person. This can be very valuable when the person recovering from addiction is an adolescent, teen, or young adult. The therapist can coach parents to adopt the best practices to support their child. This fosters healthy self-esteem and mitigates relapse risks.
Benefit #4: Support During Hard Transitions
A recovering individual goes through many transitions, including entering treatment, stepping into different levels of treatment, and returning home after completing treatment. For example, transitioning from a highly structured life in rehab to a home environment can introduce plenty of stress. Unfortunately, life’s stressful events also do not stop after achieving sobriety.
In times of need, families may need extra support to help them stay connected and healthy. Family therapy can become a lifeline for struggling families. A therapist understands trauma-informed care and specific tools for all situations. They can provide resources and tools to help each family member prioritize self-care when times are tough.
Benefit #5: Repairs Trust
Recovering individuals often face the challenging task of repairing trust with family members. They may need someone to walk alongside them while carrying out this task. Additionally, they may need space to diagnose the deeper causes with family members.
A family therapist is trained to approach the impact of past events compassionately and constructively. They can skillfully guide family members to revisit their history without retriggering people. It takes a qualified mental health expert to navigate this emotionally charged territory. Ultimately, though, doing so can repair broken trust among family members.
Benefit #6: Establishment of Healthy Boundaries at Home
Healthy boundaries are essential to relapse prevention after a person completes residential rehab. However, implementing and maintaining healthy boundaries is not up to one person alone, especially when that person is in recovery.
A family therapist can understand the challenges and help enforce healthy boundaries among family members. This requires collaboration among members of the family who care about their loved one’s success in recovery.
Benefit #7. Emotional Wellness
With all the advantages mentioned above, family therapy can improve the overall emotional wellness of every family member. Once people modify their behaviors, there also needs to be a time of maintenance and reinforcement, so that old habits do not come back.
Like any therapy, family counseling takes time. A therapist needs a few sessions to understand and define the problems. Then they can develop realistic goals to move everyone forward toward healthier interactions. After family members progress and move to a middle phase, the family therapist can consolidate these practices to become new, healthy norms at home.
Family counseling or family therapy has a lot to offer. It aims to address psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues that cause family problems. Family members work with a therapist or counselor to develop and maintain healthy relationships at home. Research indicates that family therapy is effective for adolescents with mental health conditions, making it a powerful and essential program for many young adults. At Laguna Shores Recovery, we offer family therapy and traditional treatment plans such as detox, medication, 12-Step groups, and relationship skills coaching. We also provide an outpatient program to support you and your loved ones in achieving long-term health. Schedule an appointment with us today at (866) 774-1532.