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family therapy

Addiction is also known as substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder.

Whether the addiction is to drugs or alcohol, the disorder is when someone consumes large amounts of a substance on a regular basis and find themselves unable to stop despite any negative consequences of effects that they are experiencing.

The brain and the body actually change so that it relies on the substance to feel and operate normally, which means when you stop drinking or using, you experience a number of withdrawal symptoms that make it hard, if not impossible, to quit using.

What Kinds of Family Therapy Are There

Group therapy is a very common form of therapy in rehab centres because it allows people to get support from peers who understand what they are going through.

Family therapy is in many ways similar to group therapy as it involves multiple different people, only this time it involves a group of family members or loved ones who need to work through the effects of a person’s addiction together.

There are various kinds of family therapy offered by rehabilitation programmes:

Family behavioural therapy or FBT is one of the most common forms of family therapy. It can be used for both adults and adolescents with addiction and any number of different co-occurring disorders such as mood disorders, abuse, and post-traumatic stress. During FBT, a counsellor will help every member of the family work to change toxic and unhealthy behaviours.
This type of therapy combines traditional family therapy with individual therapy, group therapy, and community-based treatment approaches. It is typically used for adolescents, but it can be used for adults too. During this kind of treatment, the counsellor tries to look for the roots of the problem or the things that caused them to turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place.
Multidimensional family therapy or MDFT is mostly used for adolescents in outpatient programmes. During sessions, which can take place at a variety of different places, including at home, at a clinic, in a court, or at school, the family is asked to take a look at any behaviours that may have influenced their child developing an addiction. This could be too many rules, not enough rules, their own drug and alcohol use, etc.

Brief strategic family therapy or BSFT is a form of treatment that works to address targeted interactions in the family that drive a child to partake in compulsive behaviour such as alcohol abuse.

These behaviours and interactions include things like truancy, delinquency, aggression, violence, etc. During BSFT, a counsellor works to help the adolescent recover from their addiction, but they also work to help the entire family develop a more functional structure.

Functional family therapy or FFT is a type of family therapy that addresses the behaviours that are created and maintained by familial interactions.

After the interactions are identified, the counsellor will work to help the family develop new ways to communicate, problem-solve, and resolve conflict.

Why is Family Therapy Important

There are two main reasons that family therapy is so important when one of the members has an addiction. First of all, when one person has an addiction, it can affect the lives of everyone around them, especially their family.

There is more information about the impact of substance abuse on the family below. The second reason is that often dysfunctional family habits and behaviours can actually be a trigger for or encourage drinking and drug use.

In order for a person to get sober and then remain sober without having a relapse, the above problems need to be dealt with.

Family therapy also helps heal relationships that may have been damaged by choices the person with the addiction made while they were using or drinking.

Family therapy can be extremely beneficial for everyone involved and is often a crucial part of recovery.

Impact of Substance Abuse on Family

There are many different ways that substance abuse can impact an entire family. Below are some of the most common ways explained:

  • Negative emotions: when one person in the family has an addiction or substance use disorder, often the other people in the family deal with things like anger, resentment, anxiety, guilt, and embarrassment
  • Safety: when someone is addicted to a substance, they may be putting the other people in their household at risk. Possibly even to the point where they need legal protection
  • Responsibilities: When one person in the family has an addiction, the other people, including children, often have to pick up the responsibilities, which may not be age-appropriate
  • Communication: often, communication becomes limited and unhealthy when someone in the family is dealing with addiction. Because of this, the needs and wants of everyone else in the family can be put on the back burner
  • Structure and boundaries: if one or both of the parents or adults in a household deal with substance abuse or addiction, there may be a lack of the structure and boundaries required for kids to thrive. This leads to kids developing maladaptive behaviours and patterns, possibly turning to drugs and alcohol themselves
  • Denial: Specifically, when a child has a drug or alcohol problem, the parent may deny that there is an issue to themselves or other people. This happens most commonly with parents to children with addictions, but it can happen with any family member
  • Relationships: often, when someone in the family deals with substance abuse, their relationships with the people in their family suffers

All About Intervention

People often consider intervention to be a form of therapy because it is a group session, often with a counsellor or some kind of professional.

Before an intervention, a trained medical professional will meet with the family to plan when and where the intervention will take place.

During an intervention, everyone in the family will meet with the addict and talk about how the person’s choices are affecting them and encourage them to seek treatment, most likely at a rehab facility.

Intervention can be a great way to get a person into recovery as presenting them with all the ways that their addiction is negatively affecting them and those they care about can be the wake-up call they need.

Even if the person with the addiction does not actually end up in rehab, it can be a great time for loved ones to share their grievances and feel like they have the opportunity to vent.

Types of Treatment Settings

There are three types of treatment settings. Please see below for an in-depth look into each one:

Inpatient treatment is one of the most successful and most common forms of addiction treatment, and many centres do offer a family component of some sort because often, family involvement really helps a person recover and not relapse. Because the person with the addiction is staying at the centre and not the family, the family usually comes in for a few scheduled sessions Inpatient treatment is the most intense form of therapy, but it also tends to be the most successful because it allows people to recover completely separate from temptation. People in inpatient therapy also have access to 24/7 doctor supervision and care. Even if you are planning on partaking in other forms of therapy, later on, it is generally recommended that a person completes an inpatient stay while they are going through detox because if not it can be dangerous.

There are outpatient programmes offered to both adults and adolescents. Some people enter outpatient recovery after they leave an inpatient programme an for others, it is the only programme they ever take part in. Outpatient treatment is a less intense option for treatment, but people who only do outpatient tend to have higher relapse rates. When a person is in outpatient therapy, they go during the day, several days a week to a variety of different meetings and therapy sessions. One of the therapies offered by many outpatient treatment facilities is family therapy. During these sessions, anyone partaking in the family therapy will all go to wherever the programme takes place and attend sessions together.

Individual therapy is the least intense form of treatment, and often it takes place after a person finishes their time in an inpatient and outpatient treatment facility. Sometimes families or couples need extra time after rehab is finished to work through any lingering problems that were caused by the person's substance abuse. Individual therapy is when a family or a couple finds a private therapist and meet for individual settings. Usually, the family or couple will go and meet with the therapist once a week and the therapist will give them homework and things to work on between sessions. It is not generally recommended that someone use individual therapy alone to recover from addiction.

The Point of Family Therapy

The main goal of family therapy related to substance abuse is to help the person with the addiction overcome obstacles that may prevent them from getting and staying sober.

They may have to figure out and cope with feelings of judgement, criticism, or scrutiny, The family members and other loved ones may also have to come to terms with the fact that they were enablers or partook in other behaviours that played a role with the addictive behaviours suffered by the individual.

It is really important that once an addict leaves rehabilitation that the family no longer enables them to participate in unhealthy behaviours and choices.

There are many different forms of enabling such as purchasing or providing money for drugs and alcohol, lying to protect the friend or family member with the addiction, giving excuses for destructive behaviours or choices, and fixing problems (such as unpaid bills) that the person with the addiction has created for themselves due to the substance abuse.

The other main goal of family therapy is to help the family and relationships within the family heal and become positive again. When even just one family member has an addiction, it can cause the entire family structure to break apart and lead to a lot of hurt and mistrust between members.

During family therapy, everyone in the family should get the chance to talk about and work through any problems they have with anyone else in the family, and it may not always only between the addict and another member.

Family therapy can take a lot of time to really have a major breakthrough, but it is often vital in a person’s recovery because their family are the people they will need for support once they leave rehabilitation.

Ready to get help?

At Rehab 4 Addiction, we offer high-quality rehabilitation & detoxification services tailored to your individual needs.

To discover your road to recovery, call us today on 0800 140 4690.

Benefits of Family Therapy

There are many benefits to family therapy depending on what problems you are dealing with, what your goals are, and who all is coming to sessions.

Understanding these benefits can help members of the family continue to participate in the therapy even when it seems really hard or like it is not getting anywhere. Some of the biggest benefits of family therapy are:

1. Setting treatment goals

When the family meets with a trained counsellor, it gives them the space to figure out and work through what their specific goals need to be.

With all of the different problems that can come with someone having an addiction, it can be really easy to get overwhelmed and start focusing on things that are not the true root of the problem. Doing so can prevent real progress from happening.

A trained therapist will know how to identify what is root problems and what is distractors that could prevent true recovery. When a therapist helps the family figure out what these main goals need to be, they can also help the family stay on track when things start to diverge.

2. Improved communication

When someone in the family has an addiction, often communication between every member of the family begins to fall apart and it is important to figure out how to fix communication if anyone is going to deal with their problems. A therapist will have exercises and practices that will help the family fix their communication problems.

3. Personal and family wellness

Everyone in the family deals with some pretty deep hurt and painful emotional scars when one of the family members has an addiction.

During family therapy, everyone will get the chance to share their hurts and work to move past them, though it may take some time in a lot of different sessions to get there completely.

For that reason, family therapy often should continue even after a person finishes a rehabilitation programme. Each of the family members may also need to go to some individualised therapy sessions with either the same therapist or a different one.

What if a Person in Your Family Does Not Want to Participate

Sometimes one or more members of the family can be reluctant to, or even refuse to, participate in family therapy. This could be to a variety of reasons such as emotional exhaustion from trying so long or scepticism and fear that the therapy will not work and they will end up right back where they started.

There are a couple of different things that can be done if this is the case.:

  1. First, the individual could start by meeting one-on-one with the therapist. This will give them time to work through any concerns and doubts that they have and ask any questions that they need to be answered. This may help a person feel less doubtful or afraid and it also may give them the time they need to feel less exhausted. They may also just need time to work through some things on their own or have a break from the situation, so it may just be something to revisit later.
  2. While it can be really difficult if someone is not willing to attend therapy, it is important to understand that everyone must participate voluntarily for it to work and sometimes people are just not willing to do so. If that is the case, continue to go to counselling with the people who are willing to attend. There is a chance that when therapy starts working for the other people in the family, the reluctant member will become more willing to give it a shot. And if not, family members not willing to go to therapy or not being fully supportive does not mean that you cannot get sober and stay sober.

Who Can Partake in Family Therapy?

So, there is actually a fairly wide range of who can partake in family therapy. It does not really matter if you actually live together or even if you are related by marriage or blood.

Below is a list of all the different people that can partake in family therapy, but even if a person is not on this list and you want them there, they can join, for the most part.

  • Parents
  • Stepparents
  • Godparents
  • Partners
  • In-laws
  • Children
  • Brothers
  • Sisters
  • Honorary family members
  • Friends
  • Sponsors
  • Colleagues
  • Mentors

Ready to get help?

At Rehab 4 Addiction, we offer high-quality rehabilitation & detoxification services tailored to your individual needs.

To discover your road to recovery, call us today on 0800 140 4690.