When an individual becomes addicted to heroin, it not only affects them, it profoundly affects the people that love and care for the most. Family therapy is an important part of recovery for both the addict and those that have suffered through the addiction with them. Family treatment can help to repair relationships that have been damaged by the individual’s addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says:
Family and friends can play critical roles in motivating individuals with drug problems to enter and stay in treatment. Family therapy can also be important, especially for adolescents. Involvement of a family member or significant other in an individual’s treatment program can strengthen and extend treatment benefits. (NIH)
Family therapy is used in several treatment settings and is extremely effective. Studies have shown that when an addict has adequate family support, they are more likely to recover.
Benefits of Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment
The family plays an important role in the addict’s recovery. Learning about the disease of addiction can help the family get a better understanding of what their loved one is going through. It helps to improve communication, regain trust, become aware of the family dynamic, share feelings, and learn how to set healthy boundaries. Family therapy also helps loved ones to learn self-care; they need help too. They may be directed to attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings or other help groups along with finding their therapist.
How Does Family Therapy Work?
When the addicted loved one enters treatment, the family will start receiving individual and group counseling and therapy sessions. These sessions can either be at the treatment facility, in a therapist’s private office, or an outpatient setting. Some of the things that the family may discuss can include going over family history, communication, and self-care techniques. The main goal of family therapy is to initiate and improve communication. Another important goal is to improve the home environment for the addict and the family. Some of the other things that the family may work on with counselors can include:
- Understanding addiction as a disease
- Learning about the family dynamic
- Repairing any emotional damage that may have been caused
- Extending forgiveness
- Working on re-establishing trust
- Managing expectations
- Learning coping skills
- Identifying skills for family success
Anyone important or essential to the addicted individual’s recovery may participate. This can be close friends, a spouse, children, parents, or extended family members. The frequency and duration of the therapy sessions will be determined by the particular program and the family’s availability. Individual and group sessions usually last about an hour. If the therapy is in an outpatient setting it may last 3 hours over a set period of weeks.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a set of therapeutic approaches that try to use the strengths and resources of the family to help the addict live without heroin. The family is educated and taught healthy coping skills. Some of the therapeutic approaches that may be discussed in family therapy can include:
- Learning what helps and what is harmful.
- Finding ways to improve communication and help rebuild trust.
- Talking about family roles.
- Finding ways to interact that are respectful to the needs of everyone involved.
Family therapy can also include developing an intervention for the addicted loved one. If the addict is resistant to treatment then an intervention may be needed. Interventionists can assist by setting up a meeting with family members to encourage the person suffering to enter treatment.
Treatment for Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based addiction treatment. Our solution-focused addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer, call us today.