Family Therapy

We understand that the involvement of a client’s family is a key aspect to long-term recovery. We therefore encourage family members to be involved in a client’s treatment plan and healing journey as much as is possible. The understanding and support of loved ones can help maintain rehabilitation and help overcome challenges and obstacles along the way. With this in mind our experienced, compassionate team offers family therapy sessions. Most often provided by a psychologist, clinical social worker, or licensed therapist, family therapy aims to serve as a helpful guide in resolving conflict and improving overall communication within families. During this process, families are encouraged to be honest in discussing issues in a positive way and in turn, emphasize with one another.

Family therapy is particularly useful in mending conflict and communication issues. Substance abuse and addiction can lead to the breakdown of trust within a family which can be difficult to resolve without professional, impartial, assistance. Our experienced team will guide everyone through this process ensuring a beneficial outcome where the family can flourish and support each other. We are on hand with any further resources that may be needed to aid this long journey to healing.

Sessions last between 45 and 90 minutes, and they usually take place every one-to-three weeks, for a minimum of three sessions. There is no maximum number of sessions, and many families can benefit from indefinite ongoing therapy.

a young mother and father play outdoors with their two young children

When is Family Therapy Appropriate?

Family therapy programs can be integrated into treatment plans for any other individual disorder or mental illness. By communicating with honesty, trust and positivity it allows for the healing of everyone involved. We understand that addiction does not only affect the sufferer and can lead to extreme distress for anyone close to them. Any families who are suffering as a result of poor communication and general conflict are encouraged to enroll in family therapy.

How Family Therapy Can Help

Issues that arise in families due to substance use disorders and mental health conditions can be assisted by broadening the perspective of the family towards the individual who they perceive has caused the issues. For substance use disorders specifically, family therapy can be an effective way to address issues such as:

  • How one family member’s substance abuse affects the rest of the family
  • Financial troubles that result due to substance abuse
  • Domestic abuse that is a result of substance abuse
  • Establishing healthy patterns that can lead to reunification and successful communication within families.
  • People with addiction, and their family members who want to help, often suffer from poor or non-existent boundaries. The development of healthy boundaries plays an important part in self-growth, confidence and containment.
  • We explore what enabling means, how the underlying intentions can be good, but why it can encourage the addiction to worsen through an enabling family member’s words and actions.
  • Teach skills which create positive communication and empathy
  • Change starts with education. Many families do not know about addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Through education and our various resources, we can empower families to understand and instigate change together

Dealing with Specific Aspects of Family Tensions

Family programs that are integrated into our treatment plans may include specific steps to deal with certain aspects of family life such as:

Defining healthy boundaries with family members

People with addiction, and their family members who want to help, often suffer with poor or non-existent boundaries. The development of healthy boundaries play an important part in self-growth, confidence and containment. In order to quell tensions within families, healthy communication needs to be supported to ensure all members feel valued and respected in their lives as family members.

Defining roles in a family

When substance use disorders or mental health issues exist within a family, the roles and responsibilities of family members can be ill-defined due to the tensions and stress it creates. These types of issues affect the entire family unit and family therapy gives them all a chance to unite and heal. Family therapy gives the entire family unit a chance to disclose their feelings, explore solutions and heal.

How to work with someone who is recovering from a substance use disorder or mental illness

Sometimes families who are dealing with a family member who is suffering from substance abuse disorder or mental illness feel like they have given them too many chances to improve themselves and are reluctant to trust or rely on this family member again. Through education, families can understand what factors and behaviors can be triggering for an addict.

How to respect and care for themselves

Although the old saying is “family first”; we recognize that if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t take care of others. Sometimes tension arises in families due to a lack of respect or appreciation and a prioritization of others’ needs over your own. Family therapy can assist to resolve these issues by setting realistic goals for each individual family member.

Understanding individual needs and the needs of the family unit

The individual needs and goals also need to work in conjunction with the needs of the family unit which emphasizes the need for realistic goal setting for both individual family members, as well as the family unit as a whole.

Identifying individual personalities and dealing with codependency

Substance use disorders and mental health issues can be made worse by codependency and having family members directly or indirectly contributing to negative behaviors. When bad behaviors and habits are enabled by family members, even if with good intentions, those bad habits are likely to get worse.

Understanding enabling actions and how to avoid them

Enabling actions of individual family members to each other can ruin relationships within a family as enabling allowing addictions to flourish, to the detriment of everyone involved. Addressing these problems individually can lead to healthier communication and the end of codependency within families.

How to help someone maintain sobriety

Rather than enabling a family member’s poor behaviors, the family unit can act together to hold each individual accountable for their actions. Family therapy helps establish an understanding of the therapeutic processes they might be going through. Through using positive communication skills and refraining from judgment the family can encourage them to attend meetings, seek out sober peers, and avoid known triggers.

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