You may have heard the expression “addiction is a family disease.” When a family member struggles with a substance use disorder, everyone in the family unit suffers. Addiction puts the overall health and well-being of every family member in jeopardy. Relationships may be strained or broken. However, with addiction treatment and family therapy, family relationships can be restored to health.
What Is Family Therapy?
A form of psychotherapy, family therapy is also called family counseling. A family unit is a group of people that call themselves a family and care about one another. It could include partners, parents, children, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, caregivers, friends, and professionals who are close to the group. The goal of family therapy is to resolve conflict, improve communication, and deepen connections between family members.
Eleven Benefits of Family Therapy in Addiction Recovery
Every family unit and family therapy session is different, but the goal of therapy is to move the family forward. Below are eleven benefits of family therapy.
- Family therapy helps everyone understand that addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a choice or moral failing. Family members gain a better understanding of how addiction affects and changes a person’s brain. They learn how it affects their loved one’s behavior and how it affects each family member.
- Family therapy helps family members learn to communicate with one another. Family members learn how to share their needs, thoughts, and feelings in a way that does not cause increased damage to their relationships. It also helps improve empathy and understanding among everyone in the family unit.
- Sometimes, family members do not know what to say or how to help their loved ones. Family therapy helps them understand the effects of addiction. They learn how they can best support their loved one as they go through recovery. Family members also learn the skills they need to protect their mental well-being.
- The family therapist explains enabling behaviors to the families and helps them understand them. Family members learn how to avoid these types of behaviors and set up boundaries that will discourage substance abuse and support their loved one’s hard work and sobriety.
- During family therapy, everyone gains an understanding of addiction treatment, how it works, and what to expect when completed. They learn ways to keep their loved one engaged and motivated during their treatment.
- Codependent behaviors may endanger or prevent recovery. During sessions, these behaviors are explained and addressed if needed. If codependent behaviors are present, the therapist can help the family restore clear boundaries.
- During sessions, family members can talk about their feelings and concerns about their loved one’s addiction. Each person has the opportunity to ask questions and advice, and to listen to each other with understanding.
- Family therapy helps the family regain forgiveness, trust, and acceptance while working on resolving conflicts within the family unit. Sometimes family members feel their loved one broke their trust. They do not want to help them in their recovery. It takes complete honesty and good communication for positive changes to take place..
- During sessions, each person has the chance for self-assessment and insight from the therapist. If a family member is struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other mental health issue, it can be addressed. If a family member has a mental health issue, it can damage communication and possibly trigger a relapse. The health of each family member is important in helping the addicted person achieve long-lasting recovery.
- When family members take part in family therapy sessions, the person in recovery has a strong support system. They know they can use their family’s resources and strengths when needed.
- Family members learn about relapse and triggers during family therapy sessions. They learn ways to be part of their loved one’s relapse prevention plan. By supporting their loved ones, they are helping to ensure long-term sobriety.
Do You Need Help?
If you or a loved one struggles with the disease of drug or alcohol addiction, we can help. Call and speak to a professional at Anabranch Recovery Center, located in Terre Haute, Indiana.