When people discuss addiction, it is the person who is actively addicted to drugs or alcohol that is most commonly referred to. But the truth is, addiction does not only affect the addicted person, rather it impacts their entire family unit.
Addiction has the ability to infiltrate a family in ways that can forever change it if left for dead. Thankfully, addiction is a treatable disease. The addict/alcoholic themselves can be treated, as can their loved ones who have been affected, too.
What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that brings family members together in an effort to improve the overall functioning of the family unit. It is highly beneficial in addiction treatment because of how much can build up amongst all members of the family during another family member’s active addiction.
Family therapy can occur in a number of different settings. If the recovering addict/alcoholic is attending a program that is local to their family, the family can go to the facility for their family therapy sessions. If that is not possible, or if the facility is not local, family therapy sessions can be held over the phone or via video chat. The most important thing to focus on in family therapy is bringing the family unit together in one way or another, regardless of geographic challenges.
Families can expect that during their sessions, they will be led by one or more therapists (depending on the size of the family) who will help address big and little issues within the family while encouraging members to share, engage, and listen to one another. Family therapy is evidence-based, meaning that it is scientifically proven to be effective in improving the quality of life for a family impacted by the disease of addiction.
Benefits of Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment
As with any therapy, the benefits from family therapy will directly link to the efforts that the family members put into their sessions. Family members are to be open and honest while in therapy with one another in order to get the most from their sessions. When they do this, they can benefit significantly in the following ways:
- Improve communication — Lots of addicted families find that they have completely lost their ability to communicate with one another. Living with active addiction puts people in survival mode, making it difficult to interact with one another. Family therapy helps address communication issues that exist so that everyone in the family feels comfortable talking with one another. And doing so respectfully and thoughtfully.
- Identify and address resentments — Addiction does not come with resentments. Everyone, including the addict, has resentments surrounding the addiction. For example, the addict may be resentful of his father for not being around enough when he was growing up, which has fueled his substance abuse. The user’s siblings might be resentful that all the attention has been put on their addicted brother rather than them. When you do not identify and address resentments, they continue to grow and fester until they spill out like a can of worms. Family therapy helps families avoid that spill entirely by having a safe space to talk about resentments and what to do with them.
- Rebuild relationships — It is likely that a family member’s addiction has impacted the relationships within the family unit. Anger and stress may have an influence on relationships, all of which add unwanted strain. Family therapy sheds light on the problems that have created cracks in family relationships to repair. As relationships are healing, they have the opportunity to become stronger than ever before. Especially when the effort from both parties is there.
- Understand each other — Having family therapy sessions is beneficial because families get their moderator for a particular block of time. The therapist can help bridge the gaps between the family in ways that help them better understand one another. He/she can also provide insight and education into why a family member has been behaving this way or that way. It allows for a stronger sense of understanding on behalf of the rest of the family.
- Learn more about addiction as a disease — Even though families go through addiction and experience it firsthand, they don’t always realize what is happening within their family unit. Through family therapy, family members can learn more about addiction as a disease. They can spend time learning how addiction changes the brain. Also, they learn how addiction makes people more susceptible to continuing compulsive use and keeps the family in constant chaos.
- Develop cohesive coping skills — There is no escaping stress or pain that may enter into family lives. Family therapy gives families the opportunity to develop coping skills that help them navigate through difficult times together. This allows for cohesive functioning rather than divisiveness, strengthening the family bond even further.
Family therapy also helps families identify boundaries and set them. The process of healing from addiction can be difficult. However, it is always worth it if the family dedicates itself to improving their relationships.
Do You Need Help? Call Us Right Now.
If addiction torn apart you and your family, call us right now. We understand how difficult it is to live with active addiction, especially when it is happening in your immediate family. The good news is that you do not need to go through this alone. There is help available for your family and addicted loved ones.
So, do not push this off any longer. Call us right now to get your family on the road to healing. There are better days right around the corner. Call us today.