In a recovery center, often, you will see programs geared toward family involvement. This therapy is a collection of therapeutic approaches that share a belief in family-level assessment and intervention. When something happens to one part of the family, the rest is affected; therefore, for a family unit to function again, family therapy programs are needed. When using this point of view, therapy can strengthen and bring about change in various problem areas, including substance abuse.
Family therapy has two primary purposes: it seeks to use the family’s strengths and resources to help discover new ways to live without addiction, and it mitigates the impact of chemical dependency on both the individual and the family. Basic support is needed to marshal the family’s strengths in this process.
According to the National Institutes of Health, in family therapy, the unit of treatment is the family and the individual within the context of the family system. Therefore, the person abusing substances is regarded as a subsystem within the family unit and whose symptoms have severe consequences throughout the family system. The familial relationships within this subsystem are the points of therapeutic interest and intervention.
The therapist facilitates discussion and problem-solving sessions involving the entire family, or maybe just one participant, such as a parent or even the person with the substance abuse disorder. Note that family-involved therapy and family therapy is distinct in that the former educates families about the relationship patterns that generally contribute to the formation and continuation of substance abuse. Family therapy has its origins in the 1950s, adding a systemic focus to previous understandings of the family, in which it recognized that:
Family therapy has evolved over the years, with many variations on the family therapy theme. One consistent thing is that it involves a therapist meeting with several family members. They could treat the addict’s spouse, children in age groups, or members of a residential treatment setting. It may or may not also involve the addict themselves.
Most family therapy programs meetings take place in private practice settings or a clinic or recovery treatment center. It can also take place in a residence, where privacy and a feeling of comfort can help overcome stigma, shame, and resistance. Also, meeting the family in their own home provides valuable information about how the family functions in real-time.
There are four main therapy models used as the basis for treatment and specific interventions for substance abuse: