Family Addiction Counseling

Addiction affects many more people than just the person suffering from addiction. In fact, it can affect everyone close to the person who is suffering from addiction, in particular, that person’s family members. Luckily, more and more emphasis and attention is being shown to family addiction counseling, or family therapy for addiction.

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What is Family Therapy?

What is family therapy? Family therapy is available for the family members of those with addiction to better understand what exactly their loved ones are going through. That way family members of people that suffer from substance abuse learn ways in which they can help their loved ones recover. Let’s take a deeper look at what family therapy is, how it’s used, and some of its benefits.

How Does Addiction Affect Families?

Before we talk about family therapy though, it is important to understand how addiction affects the family members of addicts. As you can imagine, addiction can throw the entire family dynamic into a tailspin. What once was an equal partnership between two people in a household is no longer that. 

Additionally, if there are children in the equation, addiction can cause even more problems. This is often because now all the stress of the household is being placed on one person. Furthermore, if the children are old enough, they might be called upon to help pick up the slack of the parent who is suffering from addiction. This can take a toll on even the strongest of relationships. 

Unfortunately, many people don’t know what to do when a family member is suffering from addiction. They might begin developing unhealthy coping mechanisms themselves or might enable the loved one with the addiction. 

Spousal and child abuse, both mental and physical, are also significantly more common when dealing with an addicted family member. These are just some of the many reasons why family addiction counseling is so important and beneficial.

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So, What Exactly Is Family Therapy?

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In leman’s terms, family therapy is exactly what it sounds like. It is a therapy designed for the entire family of the person suffering from addiction. This can even include the addict in some cases if all parties agree to it. 

Family members of people with substance abuse issues use family therapy to better understand what their loved ones with addictions are going through. People can also use family addiction counseling as a tool to better help their loved ones during the recovery process. 

More importantly, though, people use family addiction counseling as a safe space for family members of addicts to discuss how their addicted loved ones have negatively affected them. For example, during family therapy, people can discuss the ways in which their lives have been negatively impacted by addiction. People in family therapy for addiction can even discuss any sort of pain or abuse that they might suffer from as a result of their loved ones’ substance abuse issues. 

A wide variety of topics can be discussed during family addiction counseling sessions, including:

  • Parenting
  • Mental health
  • Violence and abuse (both physical and mental)
  • Conflict
  • The strain on the family
  • Relationship dynamics
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Infidelity
  • Cheating
  • Financial problems
  • Communication issues

A licensed counselor conducts family therapy for addiction. This licensed counselor is specially trained in working with family members of addicts. 

Everything talked about in family therapy for addiction is 100% confidential. This gives the family members the confidence to truly open up in a safe environment.

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Whether you are looking for help for yourself or a loved one, know that help is just one step away.

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How Does Family Therapy Fit Into The Overall Treatment Program?

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Typically, family members of those who actively enroll in a treatment program, attend family addiction counseling. That’s not to say that family members can’t seek out family therapy on their own even if their loved ones are not in treatment. However, family therapy tends to be a service that rehab centers offer. 

Much in the same way that people personalize their individual therapy sessions, people also personalize their family therapy. As we touched on earlier, the overall goal of family therapy for addiction is to open a line of communication between the affected family members and those suffering from addiction. 

Family addiction counseling helps family members of addicts work through some of their problems. It also helps teach family members of addicts valuable skills such as:

  • Teaching accountability
  • Managing expectations
  • Learning how to trust again
  • Learning to forgive
  • Understanding that addiction is a disease
  • Repairing the damage caused by addiction both physical and emotional
  • Leaning and practicing coping mechanisms and strategies
  • Identifying ways to strengthen the family bond

Are There Different Types of Family Therapy?

There are four main methods of family addiction counseling. These four methods are:

  • Strategic – This form of family addiction counseling provides family members with the tools for growth. The therapist in this type of family therapy might give each family member a “homework assignment.” The therapist may then give each family member a report back at the next therapy session with the results.
  • Structural – Structural family therapy for addiction is used in situations where there are children involved, especially children living in the house. This type of therapy reiterates the authority that the parent or parents have. Thus, it enhances the overall family dynamic.
  • Bowenian – Bowenian family addiction counseling is designed for those who do not want any additional family involvement in the treatment and recovery process.
  • Systemic – This type of family therapy for addiction focuses mostly on what isn’t being said instead of what is being said. During systemic family therapy, the therapists will hone in on unconscious communication. The therapist will also hone in on the underlying meaning behind certain thoughts and actions.