Addiction treatment is complex and often involves developing a support system for the person in recovery. For clients whose families or partners want to participate in treatment, family therapy programs have substantial benefits—not only for the person in recovery but for other members of the family unit.
Those in family counseling work with a trained and empathetic therapist. As an outsider, the therapist can point out family dynamics, including areas of dysfunction and strength, that people within the family may not see as easily. For instance, some family therapists use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to show family members how their thoughts affect their actions.
Therapy programs teach family members important skills like:
- Setting boundaries and practicing self-care
- Understanding their role in the family dynamic
Learn About Drug Addiction and Family Relationships
Education is a significant aspect of family counseling. Family members learn more about drug and alcohol addiction, how addiction affects behavior, and how recovery works. This education helps families understand what their loved ones will experience in recovery. Learning about drug addiction and family relationships can also correct any misconceptions that family members caused someone else’s addiction or that they can fix it on their own.
The goal of family therapy is to create lasting, positive change for the entire family, not just the person with an addiction. When one person experiences changes, it affects the whole family unit. Therapists may address how each family member plays a different role in the group dynamic. When drug addiction and family relationships combine, family members’ behavior can sometimes have beneficial or harmful effects they don’t realize. Therapy helps family members identify and explore these effects.
Discover Better Ways to Communicate
Family members can develop ineffective or even destructive communication patterns when someone in their family has an addiction. Each family member has their own reactions and beliefs, and they may respond in ways that support those beliefs, even if these responses aren’t the best method of communication. In some cases, families may stop communicating with one another altogether. Often, they are repressing emotions they genuinely want to express.
During family counseling, everyone in the family gets a chance to share their feelings and emotions. Therapists can aid people in recognizing these emotions and describing them to others.
Depending on individual communication styles and patterns, therapists may coach people on more effective communication methods. For some people, this may mean speaking up more often or saying no to requests. For others, it may mean rephrasing statements in a supportive or helpful way. And for almost everyone, improving communication skills will mean learning how to be a better, active listener. Stronger listening skills reduce the chance of misunderstandings and can go a long way towards rebuilding trust and safety within the family.
Practice Setting Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries with people you love can be difficult, especially when drug addiction and family relationships are at stake. For example, family members may neglect their own needs to help the person with an addiction. Or they may act in ways that enable the addiction because they don’t want to disappoint their loved one. Family members might also feel resentful or frustrated because their needs are neglected. Boundary-setting may involve identifying each family member’s limits or giving each member a chance to say what they need from others.
Family counseling helps each person in the family learn how to take responsibility for their own well-being. Self-care and healing are essential for family members of a person with addiction, just as they are important in addiction recovery.
Southern Sky: Family Counseling Grounded in Empathy
Evidence has shown that family counseling is associated with better treatment outcomes. Clients who participate in family therapy programs are more likely to stay in treatment and remain sober. Since many of our employees are in long-term recovery, we’ve experienced these results firsthand.
Our programs and services are designed to meet clients and their families with empathy, compassion, flexibility, and commitment. Family therapy is only one form of the therapies we offer. To learn more about how Southern Sky Recovery can help you, a loved one, and your entire family get on the path to health and wellness, contact 843.350.5769.