Addiction Treatment Should Include Family Rehabilitation

Addiction Treatment Should Include Family Rehabilitation

When a person is finally ready to address their addiction problem head-on a key part of recovery will be one-on-one therapy. Individual therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy focus on changing the person’s thought habits and helping them adopt more positive coping skills. Talk therapy is another preferred therapy which deals directly with the individual and the specific struggles they face. Another useful tool in the process of addiction recovery is family therapy.

Family therapy focuses on the group dynamic rather than on the addicted individual. During family counselling members can appropriately express anger or resentment relating to the person’s drug abuse. The counselor is on hand to help facilitate the process of forgiveness and reconciliation. But family therapy also provides an opportunity to explore why one member of the family turned to drugs in the first place.

Families are not only made up of mothers and fathers and children in the same home. Families are also single parents and children. They are foster families and stepfamilies. In some cases a family is a set of grandparents who have taken on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Occasionally, extended family members live under the same roof and they too are part of the definition of family.

The reason that family therapy is so crucial is that drug use and addiction never affects just the user. The activity and the emotional posture that goes along with drug use is something that affects each and every member of the household. Some of the effects are obvious, such as when the user is a wage-earning parent who loses their job due to their addiction. This creates clear financial tensions for everyone in the home. If drug use has precipitated domestic violence, this too would need to be addressed.

One goal of family therapy can be the writing of a family contract. A written contract outlines the expectation that each member of the family deserves to live in a drug-free atmosphere and what steps need to be followed to ensure that atmosphere. Another goal of family counseling is helping each family member identify their own role and responsibility in the group. For instance, a spouse cannot be responsible for whether or not their partner uses drugs. Children are not to blame for drug use either.

Family therapy helps set appropriate expectations for the early recovery period. Wrong expectations can lead to stress which can, in turn, trigger a relapse. In short, the family counseling component can be an important part of encouraging long-term sobriety by dealing with past issues, establishing healthy home standards and setting reasonable expectations for the future.

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