What Is Family Therapy For Addiction Treatment?

Family therapy has been proven effective for people with addictions and their loved ones. This goal-focused form of therapy improves communication between family members and allows multiple people to receive treatment at the same time.

Many types of addiction therapy focus on the individual. However, for people who deal with addiction, interpersonal therapies can be an essential aspect of recovery.

For example, group therapy allows the individual to form a community with other people who also have substance use disorders.

One type of therapy, called family therapy, allows family members to receive mental health counseling together.

What Are The Goals Of Family Therapy?

Family therapy focuses on the relationships between family members, seeking to improve how family members relate to and communicate with one another.

While sessions do address individual family members, they also examine how the family functions as a unit.

The goal of family therapy is to improve interpersonal communication within that unit and to help the unit function in a healthy way.

Unlike some forms of therapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapists may place little emphasis on finding the root cause of a problem.

Instead, they emphasize how a family might address an issue together. However, family therapy does share some commonalities with other therapy types.

For example, a therapist may teach problem-solving skills by using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques.

Why Use Family Therapy For Addiction?

Families may pursue therapy together for a variety of reasons, including divorce, adoption, and communication issues.

Family therapy helps people in all of these situations because it provides a safe, mediated space for family members to express themselves.

When people seek family therapy for addiction, this safe space provides an outlet that family members may not have otherwise had.

The spouses, siblings, and other family members of people in recovery need an outlet to speak openly.

In therapy, they can express the ways in which their loved one’s addiction has impacted them.

Furthermore, when a loved one has an addiction, many families need to work through any unhealthy dynamics that may have contributed to the addiction.

How Family Therapy Benefits Families Affected By Addiction

While other forms of therapy may focus solely on the person with the addiction, family therapy includes others who may have an impact on that person.

This multi-person approach has been proven effective for families impacted by substance use disorders.

Communication About Addiction And Sobriety

When one family member deals with addiction, they may struggle to talk about their addiction with other family members.

Likewise, the other family members may struggle to understand the nature of their loved one’s addiction.

A family therapist can facilitate healthy communication and explain concepts in digestible terms.

The therapist may also help family members learn how they can support their loved one in recovery.

Family Mental Health Treatment

Many people with addiction also have a co-occurring disorder, or another mental health condition.

Because genetics and environment have an impact on mental health, several family members may be dealing with similar mental health issues.

Family therapy allows each person to address their own mental health concerns, so multiple family members can benefit from therapy at the same time.

Concurrent Therapy Choices

Often, people with substance use disorders receive family therapy in addition to receiving individual therapy.

For example, if the person needs to address past trauma, they may pursue EMDR therapy, a type of therapy often used for people with addiction and PTSD.

In some instances, family members may receive therapy while their loved one sees a therapist on a one-on-one basis.

These therapies may supplement one another, allowing people to make the most of their treatment options.

Building A Cohesive Team

Addiction can make people feel lonely, especially if they do not know anybody else who also has an addiction.

That sense of loneliness can be compounded when the person doesn’t know how to communicate their addiction to their loved ones.

Family therapy can help clients overcome this sense of loneliness because it treats the family as a unit.

During therapy, family members may begin to see themselves as team members. They learn how to work together, which can improve their connection to one another.

How Long Does Family Therapy Last?

Because family therapy addresses specific issues, it is not a long-term form of therapy.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the average treatment time is 12 sessions.

However, some families may attend up to 50 sessions, depending on the specific issue and the recommendation of the therapist.

The therapist and the family pinpoint a specific relational goal. Then, each session focuses on building the skills family members need to attain that goal.

Family Addiction Therapy In Massachusetts

At Spring Hill Recovery Center, several of our programs include a weekly family therapy session. Families may participate either in person or over the phone.

We know that addiction is a difficult mental health disorder, and we believe that people in recovery deserve support and understanding from their families.

If you or a loved one need addiction recovery help, contact Spring Hill Recovery Center today for more information.

  1. American Association For Marriage And Family Therapy — About Marriage And Family Therapy https://aamft.org/About_AAMFT/About_Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspx?hkey=1c77b71c-0331-417b-b59b-34358d32b909
  2. Mayo Clinic — Family Therapy https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237
  3. National Library Of Medicine — Family Interventions: Basic Principles And Techniques https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001353/

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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