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What Is Family Therapy?

therapist talking to youthful parents and their young son about what is family therapy

Mental well-being seldom ends at the level of the individual. Rather, communities, families, and friends both impact and are impacted by individuals’ mental health. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, know that you’re not alone. Many people live with addiction, and it’s common for their families and extended circles to feel the impact as well.

At Ray Recovery in Hudson, Ohio, we believe in comprehensive treatment that includes care for their primary support system. Our premier family therapy treatment can help you and your loved ones understand addiction and build healthier relationships. Call 888.598.6299 to learn more about what family therapy is and how it can support a comprehensive treatment plan for substance use.

What Is Family Therapy Treatment?

Family therapy treatment is a powerful intervention that caregivers may include within a mental health and/or substance use treatment program. In this offering, clients and their families meet regularly with a professional counselor to address key areas such as:

  1. Education – The first step in effective family therapy is often knowledge-sharing. Getting on the same page about the biological disease process of addiction and recovery can be a great starting point. It can foster empathy and empower the family to advocate for their own and their loved one’s needs in recovery. Topics span the genetic component of addiction, tolerance, and the impact various addictive substances have on brain chemistry.
  2. Boundary-Setting – Understanding everyone’s needs and requests is an essential part of family therapy. In families coping with addiction, one member may end up shouldering an unfair amount of the work of the household. Family therapy can help clarify responsibilities and begin the work of achieving a more balanced lifestyle.
  3. Healthy Communication Training – Therapists typically teach healthy communication techniques like active listening. Here, only one participant shares at a time, and then their loved one reflects back on what they’ve just heard. Finally, the first speaker can make any corrections or clarifications needed. This strategy directly counters the tendency to interrupt or “steamroll” family members, which often arises in households experiencing high stress.
  4. Family Anthropology – Knowing the unique history and microculture of one’s family can be a powerful tool for growth. To this effect, a family therapist may ask about the family history of substance use, mental illness, or other trauma. They may also encourage members to explore shared and differing values and clarify the roles they play within the unit.

How Does Family Therapy Fit into a Larger Addiction Treatment Program?

Family therapy can powerfully strengthen addiction recovery, but its timing and placement within rehab are important. It may not be appropriate, for instance, immediately after treatment begins. Instead, it’s often best begun some time down the line. Generally speaking, people in recovery should feel basic stability and personal alignment with sobriety goals before tackling relational healing work.

Treatment is typically highly customized, meaning family therapy might begin at different times for different clients. Nonetheless, a foundational stage of rehab, such as detox, is almost certainly not a good time to begin. Similarly, in the early weeks of residential rehab, one-on-one therapy, support groups, and medication monitoring may deservedly dominate clients’ time.

When family therapy does join a client’s regimen of services, it’s likewise important to attend to each member’s individual needs. This means the addiction recovery client will likely keep receiving individual support simultaneously. They may also benefit from a peer support group. Similarly, individual support can be an excellent asset for loved ones engaging in family therapy. Family therapy often fosters a greater understanding of mental illness and personal history for loved ones. Speaking with a counselor of their own can be tremendously helpful in navigating material that surfaces in the group setting.

Find the Support You Need with Family Therapy Treatment at Ray Recovery

You and your loved ones deserve the best possible support as you face the admirable work of addiction recovery. Know that the caring team at Ohio’s Ray Recovery is eager to assist you in this endeavor. Call 888.598.6299 or reach out online to begin the conversation.