Addiction damages not only the person struggling with it, but those close to them as well. Friends and family are negatively affected by substance abuse, but they can also be key players in helping their loved one recover. Family therapy for substance abuse is a service offered to support the family and friends of an individual who is struggling with addiction.

What is family therapy?

Family therapy for substance abuse is a cornerstone of addiction recovery. Addicts need family support, and family members need to learn how to give it. One-on-one therapy focuses on the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of one person—the addict—while family therapy is a group therapy. Every member of the immediate family attends, and therapy focuses on family relationships and on validating the concerns and experiences of each person. The purpose of therapy for family members of addicts is to repair and strengthen relationships, with the goal of supporting the family member who is struggling with addiction. The therapist will invite family members to share their experiences and coach them in new skills to improve communication, understanding, and relationship building.

How does therapy help the family?

Addiction causes stress, guilt, and tension in a family. In fact, addiction is often referred to as a “family disease” because it affects every member of the family of an addict, whether or not they are struggling with substance abuse themselves. Families can become dysfunctional and unhealthy, and they can even unwittingly enable the substance abuser.

Family therapy for substance abuse provides healthy coping strategies to help every member of the family make it through the addict’s recovery. It provides a safe place for family members to work through their anger, concerns, and fears together while improving communication skills and the overall emotional health of the family. Therapy offers support during crises and helps family members learn to trust and forgive.

How does therapy help the individual?

Substance abusers need support during and after their treatment. Because family stress is a common relapse trigger, the family should always be involved in addiction treatment. Family therapy for substance abuse strengthens family relationships and gives each member tools to help and support their loved one struggling with addiction. Family therapy decreases the likelihood of relapse and increases the chances for long-term recovery.

When should families seek therapy?

When an individual is undergoing treatment for substance abuse, family therapy should be a part of the treatment plan. Family therapy isn’t just limited to family members: it may involve anyone close to the individual on a day-to-day basis, including friends, significant others, and even coworkers.

If you are interested in helping your loved one overcome addiction, learn more about our family therapy services.