Dealing with an addiction to alcohol or drugs is a difficult thing to go through alone and seeing a loved one deal with substance abuse can be just as difficult.
Your family and friends may try to offer help and advice, but sometimes that can drive you further away from them. If you are the person offering advice, you may feel helpless as you watch your family member or friend suffer from their addiction.
With the guidance of proper therapeutic methods and trained counselors, you or your loved one can not only overcome your addiction, but also learn how to form new bonds with the people you care most about.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction is a family disease. That is because when an individual is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, it does not just affect that person; it affects all their loved ones and each member of their household.
Denver Recovery Center is here to help you and your family get started on this journey.
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What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a combination of different therapeutic techniques that involve both the patient and their closest family members and friends. The goal of this therapy is to improve communication, reduce stress and conflict, and address certain issues that may exist between all members of a person’s family. This type of therapy is important for everyone involved. That is because when someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their choices and behavior do not only affect them; they also impact each of their loved ones.
It is important to realize that each member of the family who has been affected needs to seek treatment, not just the person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Family therapy seeks to address this need by helping the group as a whole. It is an important part of an overall treatment plan for anyone who is seeking help with addiction.
It is important to note that the term “family” is not exclusive to immediate relatives. Family can include an individual’s parents, siblings, children, extended family members, significant others, and close friends. All these people are important when an individual decides to seek help for substance abuse. Each of these people will also play a critical role in the future success of that individual and their ability to remain drug or alcohol free.
Why is Family Counseling Important For People With Substance Abuse Problems And Their Family?
A family unit is like a micro-ecosystem. If any member of that system experiences a major change in their life, the other parts will also experience change. When one of the parts of that unit is out of sorts, the others are impacted and must compensate.
Think of it like a mobile that hangs over a baby’s crib. From the center of the mobile, there are several branches that each have airplanes and cars hanging from the ends. When everything is good, the pieces balance each other out and they can go on and on in circles, entertaining the baby below them. However, if you were to add extra weight to one of those pieces, or remove it completely, the mobile would not work properly.
The mobile is reflective of a family unit. Each of the members are represented by one of the airplanes or cars hanging from it. When one of those members becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they are no longer able to function as they used to. This affects the rest of the members who now must compensate or otherwise change their daily life course to adjust to the addicted person’s new lifestyle.
How Does Family Therapy Work?
Family therapy works in a similar way as other types of group treatment. The first step is to get all the impacted people together so that the therapist can address them as a group. For the treatment to be successful, all the members will need to commit to the process and agree to a set of “ground rules” regarding respect, the therapy process, and the purpose of the visits.
After the loved ones have committed to the process, the therapist will begin to learn the unique dynamic and start to identify some of the key points that can be worked on. It is important for the therapist to see how the members interact with everyone else and what role each of them plays.
Family counseling offers many benefits to the person with the substance abuse issue and everyone they have close relationships with. Some of these benefits include:
- Helping the family members understand what the addicted person is going through by providing education.
- Providing the addicted person with a sense of unity and support.
- Improving the communication between all family members.
- Identifying and addressing possible factors that contributed to their family member’s substance abuse problem.
- Providing guidance for family members to be able to provide proper and necessary support after the individual has completed their treatment program.
- Allowing all members of the family to have a safe place to discuss issues.
An important part of this type of therapy is educating members who may not understand why the individual developed certain habits or turned to substance abuse in the first place. Other people may feel as though substance abuse is a choice or that the individual simply lacks the motivation to make better choices.
They may not realize that oftentimes there are deep-seeded issues that may have led the individual to self-medicate, which over time developed into an addiction. Some of these issues may be things that they contributed to without realizing how they were affecting other members of the family unit.
What Treatment Can I Expect During a Family Session?
Every family is unique and has its own set of issues to work through, so the approach to treatment also needs to be unique. There are different types of therapy that are effectively used in treating substance abuse. They all have the same basic structure and goals, but the methods are each a little bit different. These models include the following therapies:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This is one of the most popular and effective methods used in counseling for families. It is very similar to individual cognitive behavioral therapy treatment in the sense that it is based on the belief that people “learn” all of their behavior and can therefore “un-learn” undesirable behaviors. During these sessions, the therapist will help the members identify negative feelings or thoughts. They will also educate the household members about substance abuse issues, suggest ways to support the individual seeking treatment, and give them valuable tools to rely on in the future.
Dynamic Therapy: This technique recognizes that each person within the group has their own ways of thinking, processing situations, and interacting with others. One of the most important factors in this is the unconscious mind, which is where an individual may experience repression, unresolved grief, or transference, which refers to projecting one’s thoughts or feelings onto others. During these sessions, the therapist will work to help each family member identify these thoughts and feelings so that they can be brought out and properly addressed.
Strategic Therapy: This technique is focused on finding solutions to problems. Rather than seeking to place blame on one member of the family or another, therapists work with all of the members in figuring out ways to handle these issues. There are clear goals that are set for the family. Improving communication is critical to this approach.
Structural Therapy: This method addresses how the family members are organized and recognized within their familial unit. The manner in which the members relate to one another is directly impacted by the role each of them plays. Most of the time, household members do not realize that such a structure exists. Therapists work with them to help identify each member’s role, create healthy boundaries, and establish healthy communication between all the members.
The type of therapy used in your sessions will be determined by your therapist based on your family’s unique needs and concerns.
What Types of Issues Are Addressed at Family Treatment?
Many issues are addressed during the sessions. Some of the more important issues may include:
- How each of the family members process situations, feelings and emotions
- How the family members interact with one another
- Identifying or redefining roles and structure within the family
- Providing education about substance abuse
- Teaching proper communication techniques in different scenarios
- Establishing healthy and respectful boundaries
Another important issue that may be addressed during sessions is the need for each member to be recognized as an individual. Every person has their own needs, values, feelings, and emotions. They also process and react to different situations uniquely and need to be treated as a person instead of just as a piece of a larger group.
Although each person’s individual needs should be considered, the familial needs are also important. The collective group of people that make up a family must respect the other people’s views, even if they are different from their own. This is a large part of forming healthy relationships and is necessary before effective communication and healthy relationships can be formed.
Are There Family Therapy Services For Drug And Alcohol Addiction in Denver, Colorado?
Fortunately for many Americans, family therapy services can be found near home. It is critical, however, to make sure that the therapist you seek is licensed and properly trained to provide the treatment that meets your needs. If you are seeking these services because a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, it is vital that the person who provides the treatment to you and your loved ones be properly educated and trained in dealing with addiction and the recovery process.
If you are in or near the Denver area, there is good news for you and your family. Denver Recovery Center is just such a facility that has highly skilled family counselors available. We are fully licensed and provide trained therapists who are experts in providing care that is evidence-based and effective at addressing your family’s needs.
When you call our facility, you will speak with an intake counselor who will help you through the entire process. During this initial call you can ask any questions that you may have and learn all about our program that helps individuals and their families deal with the difficult issues surrounding addiction.
Get Your Recovery Journey Started With Family Therapy at Denver Recovery Center today
You don’t have to struggle with addiction alone for one more day. Let us help you make the transition to a healthier, happier life. We are here for you and your loved ones as you work through these difficult issues and reunite with a stronger bond.
To learn more about how we can help you, call our facility now at (844) 602-3175. Dealing with drug and alcohol addiction is something you don’t have to do alone. We are here to help you get through this challenging process. Call today!