If you or a loved one is in treatment for a substance use disorder, you are probably well aware of the family therapy sessions included in the program. Rebuilding these relationships is an essential part of the recovery process. Solidifying the support of family members can help provide us with the support and accountability we need to avoid relapse.
Family therapy often extends beyond the duration of the treatment program, becoming an essential aspect of continuing care. You will continue building on the work you started while in treatment once you’re back home. These outpatient family therapy sessions can help you build stronger and healthier relationships.
What is therapy?
Psychotherapy is a type of treatment that involves discussing current or past psychological or emotional events with a licensed mental health professional. Whatever you experienced interferes with day-to-day and impacts your quality of life, so engaging in therapy can help resolve the problem.
Therapy comes in various methods that can include therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, or experiential therapy, which usually takes place in conjunction with physical activity.
There is also a wide range of therapeutic modalities used in substance use disorder treatment. The most commonly used include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Contingency management
- Motivational enhancement therapy
In family-focused therapy, the therapist will customize the sessions to fit the family’s particular needs. Therapists utilize exercises like role-playing to identify the areas that need attention. The family and therapist work together to set goals and objectives that can create a more supportive family dynamic.
Benefits of family therapy
Dysfunction within families is a common occurrence among individuals seeking help for a substance use disorder. Family wellness programs can provide you with the tools to improve your communication skills and create an honest and respectful environment between family members. These efforts help improve family dynamics.
Benefits of family therapy include:
- Restoring trust: Repairing broken trust bonds between family members is critical for healing and moving forward in recovery. As trust is restored, family members are more willing to be engaged in supporting their loved one.
- Establishing healthy boundaries and expectations: Setting boundaries and realistic expectations is a two-way street between the family members and the loved one in recovery. Together, they can communicate their concerns and define their expectations.
- Teaching the family how to support their loved one: A core goal of family therapy is to teach the family members about the substance use disorder and how they can be supportive of their loved one in recovery.
- Identifying unhealthy relating patterns. Family sessions can shed light on dysfunctional relationship patterns, such as enabling behaviors or codependency. Once identified, the therapist can help the family learn to adopt better relationship patterns and avoid unhealthy tendencies.
- Improving communication: Learning more effective ways to communicate feelings, thoughts, fears and concerns creates a strong foundation for healthy family relationships.
- Healing painful past events: Hurt and resentment are common residual emotions experienced by family members due to a loved one’s actions while in active substance use. A family therapist can guide the family members in resolving these past traumatic and painful experiences.
- Teaching conflict resolution skills: A common challenge that all families face is learning how to resolve conflicts in a productive and loving way. The therapist will introduce these skills, and have the family members practice them during sessions.
Family therapy provides a comprehensive approach to guiding family members towards achieving a healthier, more cohesive relationship between each other and the loved one in recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.