It is well known that psychotherapy often forms part of the recovery process for people struggling with addiction. While individual therapy for drug addiction is usually helpful, family therapy should not be overlooked. That’s because addiction doesn’t only affect the person who is using drugs. Usually, other members of the household and wider family struggle as well. They may experience increased stress and worry, disrupted daily routines, and even terrifying encounters. Relationships are usually under quite a bit of strain.
While individual therapy helps the addict to explore and understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, family therapy is focused on improving relationships. Each person is likely to handle the situation differently and family counseling aims to validate each experience. It can help family members to understand each other and repair any broken bonds. Family therapy doesn’t have to involve a large group. It can just include the addict and their spouse, parent or sibling.
Why Family Therapy is So Important
People struggling with substance abuse often feel like they’re on their own. Even when loved ones have the best intentions, they may not be able to offer adequate support. If another member of the family goes to therapy with the addict, they can learn more about addiction and how it affects the household. If the family doesn’t get involved, it can actually hold back the addict’s recovery. That’s because spouses, siblings, and parents often engage in enabling or dysfunctional behaviors without realizing it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that addiction can weaken family bonds. Therapy can, therefore, help to strengthen relationships and bring individuals closer if that’s what they want. Addiction is often accompanied by lots of conflict between the addict and their loved ones. Addicts may get into arguments with their families, scare them when they overdose, or call them to bail them out whenever they get into trouble. They may also find it very difficult to keep a job and live up to their family responsibilities. This can be especially damaging when there are children in the household.
Families typically can’t solve these problems on their own without professional intervention. However, a trained therapist can help them to create a much healthier dynamic. Therapy will provide guidance and support so the family can begin to find healing. Family therapy typically fosters:
- Improved communication
- Greater empathy
- A better understanding of how each family member is affected by the addiction
- A deeper appreciation for family dynamics and structures
- Improved ability to handle crisis and conflict
- The development of healthy outlets for anger
Depending on the particular problems a family is facing, there will be additional benefits. Changing the family dynamic won’t happen overnight and it will take time and effort. However, the therapist will provide tools and techniques that can be used immediately.
Determining Whether Family Counseling is Right for You and Your Loved Ones
Including close relatives in addiction recovery is usually helpful. However, it may not be right for every family. In some cases, family therapy may not be appropriate at the beginning of the addict’s recovery journey but it can be employed later. Usually, family therapy is recommended for families that:
- Have experienced problems because of a member’s addiction
- Include an individual who has not responded well to individual or group therapy
- Want to learn to communicate better so members can assist the addict
- Have been mentally and emotionally impacted by their loved one’s drug use
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, neither of you has to handle it alone. Entering family therapy can help you keep the family intact and create a supportive environment in which healing is possible. Addiction leads to lots of anxiety, stress, conflict, and complicated emotions but everyone involved can learn to cope. Families can emerge stronger than ever.
Get Help from Asheville Recovery Center Today
At Asheville Recovery Center in North Carolina, we offer family support to individuals in our outpatient program. We provide family counseling via conference calls, so relatives don’t have to worry about commuting. Even families who don’t live in the same city can benefit from this type of counseling. If you believe you or a loved one needs this type of support, reach out to our team of professionals. We offer personalized treatment options for each client since we know that each person is unique. There’s no need to try to handle addiction on your own. The process of getting clean and staying clean will be easier if you have support. Contact our team of professionals today!