Addiction and mental illness take a personal toll, but also negatively impact the entire family. A family therapy program plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process. During sessions, clients and loved ones work together on issues, develop healthy communication skills and rebuild trust, all of which are key elements to recovery. While most addiction therapy services place the focus on the client, family therapy creates a healing environment for the client and their loved ones.
A family therapy program addresses specific issues affecting the psychological health of the family. It is typically used as a complementary approach. Participants address emotional wounds that prevent them from living full lives, both individually and as families. They engage in traditional and experiential processes to foster understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness while exploring deeply held beliefs, feelings and underlying issues. Involving family members can lead to more intense healing for everyone. Often, family members harbor feelings of resentment or hurt after addiction or problems managing a mental illness. Because of these unresolved feelings, it can be difficult for family members to achieve respectful and effective communication. A family counseling program allows a therapist or counselor to act as a mediator and facilitator of communication.
How Does Family Therapy Help?
Family acceptance and support can help an individual improve their self-esteem and self-image during and after treatment. Active engagement, flexibility, and open communication among family members can improve the client’s self-confidence and facilitate adjustment to home life. Positive attitudes and reinforcement from loved ones often help an individual work toward recovery and achieve long-term abstinence. Moreover, as issues and conflicts are uncovered, working collaboratively can lead to solutions benefitting everyone involved. Loved ones can begin to work past feelings of distrust, anger, and resentment and reach a place of understanding, love, and compassion.
Benefits of a Family Therapy Program
Family members benefit from therapy when they experience stress related to destructive, often hurtful behaviors of a loved one. This can help members focus on moving forward in a positive manner, rather the reflecting on the past strain this put on the family relationship. Benefits include:
- Fosters understanding in families
- Creates a safe, nonjudgmental space
- Breaks the cycle of denial
- Prevents continued avoidance of issues
- Ends enabling behaviors
- Improves listening skills
- Encourages collaboration and cooperation