Family Counseling for Drug Addiction

People with addiction are not the only ones affected by their substance use. Addiction can place a barrier between many crucial supporting relationships in a person’s life.

Family therapy—one of several evidence-based behavioral therapies—can work to heal these relationships, improve communication, and help everyone recover.

What Is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a therapeutic approach that works to improve total family dynamics and relationships.1 The foundation of family therapy is the idea that the family unit is a system, with each person acting as an important part.2 This complex system strives to function in equilibrium or “homeostasis.”A change in any part of the family can offset this equilibrium and affect the way the entire system works.3

It’s easy to see how one person’s addiction can change the family dynamic in many different unhealthy ways. For example, resentment can build, some may enable their family member’s substance use, some may isolate themselves completely, others take on too much responsibility, etc. Though often harmful in the long run, these responses serve to keep the family system operating.3

Family therapy fosters healthier and more effective family dynamics by identifying and exploring how substance use affects the individual, the family, their responses, and how to make changes that address the changes caused by the substance use disorder.3

Family Therapy for Drug Addiction Treatment

When beginning family therapy for addiction treatment, the person struggling with addiction decides who they consider family and who they want to be involved in the process. They don’t always have to be related, but they should be people that the person considers highly important to them.2

During family therapy sessions, the therapist will ask questions to learn more about the family members, how they behave, and how they communicate with each other. They may also opt for a more passive process, observing how family members communicate with one another, which allows them to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.2

Topics that may arise throughout family therapy can include:2

  • Coping skills.
  • How to deal with anger, regret, and sadness.
  • How to talk about feelings.
  • How to communicate more effectively.
  • How to say “no” to unreasonable demands.
  • How to give a compliment.
  • Learn how to re-word things to sound more positive.

A therapist may ask members of the family to do homework that may include tasks like doing something fun together or noting the nice things family members say to each other. These activities help the family practice healthier ways of interacting with one another when drugs or alcohol aren’t involved.2

Family therapy can emotionally strengthen the family unit, help the person with addiction see that their family is not ganging up on them, and facilitate the identification and achievement of recovery goals.3

The Benefits of Family Therapy for Addiction Recovery

There are numerous benefits to family addiction counseling. Here are a few of the common benefits of family therapy for substance use disorder.3

  • Treatment engagement and retention: According to research, having family involvement in addiction treatment increases the rate of treatment barriers and decreases the dropout rate.
  • Substance use prevention: Family therapy can help prevent substance use in other family members as well as prevent the person who initially needed treatment from relapsing.
  • Motivation: Family members learn about the biopsychosocial effects of addiction and how this can affect the family, so they have a better understanding of their loved one with an addiction. Often family members want to give up on treatment possibilities because they feel like they have spent enough time focusing on the addiction and are discouraged. Family therapy can help motivate family members and give them hope.

Family therapy has also been shown to improve treatment outcomes in the following ways:3

  • Higher abstinence rates
  • Lessens substance-related problems
  • Strengthens the families’ coping abilities
  • Improves family functioning
  • Reduces problems that may co-occur with substance use, such as internalizing or externalizing conditions and suicide attempts.

Family Therapy for Substance Misuse at Oxford Treatment Center

At Oxford Treatment Facility, our qualified staff offer both virtual and in-person family therapy to cater to the needs of each patient.

Virtual family programs often last around two hours, going over numerous topics pertaining to addiction and allowing time for questions from the family. This program will help the family learn the science behind addiction and understand the stages of recovery as well as solutions that can improve overall relationships and family dynamics.

Oxford Treatment Center also offers in-person family treatment programs that typically take place over 2 day-long sessions. The morning will be spent on addiction education, similar to what is learned in the virtual program. In the afternoon, there are small group or individual assignments that focus on:

  • How the addiction has affected the family.
  • How the family can help the patient with a successful recovery.
  • Regaining trust.

Any concerns or questions are addressed during this time as well.

Drug Addiction Treatment Near Oxford, MS

Oxford Treatment Center offers several levels of addiction treatment, which utilize family therapy in addition to other evidence-based approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and more, conducted in group or individual therapy sessions.

Call today to begin treatment admissions at our inpatient drug and alcohol rehab in Mississippi or outpatient facility. Compassionate admissions navigators will be happy to answer questions and guide you through the process of using health insurance to cover addiction treatment and other payment options. Don’t wait; call today to begin your path to a life-long recovery.

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