Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Having a family member struggle with substance abuse is one of the most stressful and emotional challenges you’ll face. Family therapy for addiction treatment is an essential part of the road to sobriety, especially for individuals who are directly affected by a family member’s alcohol or drug addiction.

Substance addiction doesn’t just affect the user; it affects the entire family. It’s very challenging to watch a family member repeatedly put themselves in dangerous situations, and individuals with a family member struggling with substance abuse will often feel a mixture of frustration and fear.

The emotional stress of substance addiction will often leave family members feeling helpless. In these situations, though, it is exceptionally beneficial to attempt and to list in family therapy for an addiction treatment program. Footprints to Recovery provides family therapy for addiction, which will help the individual suffering to walk through the recovery process supported by their loving family members.

Addiction Effects the Whole Family

Substance addiction is a disease that affects many more than just the addict. Working with a trained addiction specialist should help ease the burden that family members usually carry alone while dealing with a family member struggling with addiction.

Substance addictions are personal, but they will produce far-reaching consequences to others involved. Addicts caught in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors will destroy the relationships and bring chaos to the ones closest to them. The families of individuals with a substance addiction will take the most direct hit, which is why family therapy for addiction treatment is such a crucial component of recovery.

What is Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

Family therapy consists of a set of therapeutic sessions that will demonstrate the use of the family’s strengths and resources to assist the addict in re-entering society without the presence of alcohol or drugs. Family therapy’s primary mission is to reduce the harm of addiction in both the user and their family. Other issues may also be addressed during family therapy, such as parenting skills, depression, family conflict, abuse, and unemployment.

A family’s presence will play a central role in treating any disease, including substance addiction. Studies show that addicts are more likely to recover when they have support from their family and friends. Unfortunately, this process is not only challenging, but many families will end up suffering alongside their addicted loved ones.

Family therapy for addiction treatment will often take the form of an education session. To allow family members to ask questions and start a dialogue amongst the group can in itself be a healing process.

Additionally, family therapy sessions may include:

  • Identifying ways to improve communication and rebuild trust
  • Discussing family roles
  • identifying ways to interact and stay respectful of everyone’s needs
  • Learning what helps and what is harmful


Another form of family therapy is an intervention. If an individual suffering from addiction becomes resistant to a rehab treatment program, treatment specialist may be recommended to use during an intervention service. This will involve meeting with a trained medical professional interventionists who specializes in the areas of family dynamics and conversations about substance addiction.

Interventionalists will help set up a meeting between the addict and the family members to encourage the subject to enter a rehab treatment facility. Afterward, the interventionist will usually remain available for family support throughout the patient’s treatment journey.

The primary goal of family therapy is to assist the family members in understanding how addiction affects them and to give them the tools needed to help improve their relationships. Substance addiction can sometimes occur due to dysfunction at home, and family therapy will provide the members with a way to understand the risk factors of triggers and know how to prevent them.

How Does Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment Work?

Keeping family relationships healthy will take work, primarily with the members who are dealing with an addiction. Family therapy for addiction treatment will focus on the dynamics that contribute towards addictive behavior, helps patients overcome resistance to change, break down barriers of communication, and help members of the family interact positively. The therapist must also confirm the members of the household, especially teens and children, are safe from any neglect and harm.

Family therapy sessions will take place in a variety of forms which include:

  • Group sessions with patients and family members
  • Private family therapy sessions involving family members and a therapist only
  • 12 step meetings for the families of the patient
  • Intense family education sessions
  • Individual counseling for children and spouses of recovering addicts 

There are also several popular therapy models in family addiction treatment. A few of the more productive uses of therapeutic strategies will include:

  • Multidimensional family therapy- This form is frequently used to help recovering teenagers; multidimensional therapy will help children and adolescents build stable and robust identities; parents and guardians will be counseled on communication, parent-child relationships, and setting boundaries and limits.
  • Behavioral family therapy- This form of treatment will use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy principles; address the destructive behaviors and thought patterns throughout the family system; family members are educated on how to replace those negative patterns with positive actions that will assist in support of sobriety.
  • Structural or strategic therapy- This form of treatment will focus on identifying and transforming the fundamental dynamics that come with addiction; structural therapy will place a strong emphasis on improving communication and assisting family members in setting boundaries with the addict.

Regardless of the treatment model the therapist uses, family therapy will focus on how the members function as a system, creating both negative and positive outcomes through interactions. Developing positive interactions is the primary mission of family therapy sessions.

Settings of Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment

It is vital to enlist family therapy services from a professional treatment center that utilizes multiple treatment settings. Some of the more successful settings where family therapy for addiction treatment will include:

Inpatient Treatment

A majority of inpatient treatment centers will offer a family component. This will consist of appointments, usually multiple weekends, and is determined by staff with the patient’s involvement. The therapist will often meet with family members without the user and then with the user and their family for multiple sessions. The focus on these sessions can be on couples or the entire family.

family therapy for addiction treatment

Outpatient Recovery Programs

These programs are offered for both adolescents and adults who are either leaving residential treatment or ones who never enlisted into residential treatment. These group sessions will focus on the user and will incorporate regular family group sessions with all the members being together with a facilitator. While working with adolescents, it is crucial to find an age-appropriate group. These groups will primarily educate the members and addiction while providing insight into areas we are family may work more deeply with the individual therapist.

Individual, Marriage and Family Therapy

In private treatment settings, the addict may work with a family and marriage therapist who also has experience with substance addiction. These therapists will have different styles and will ask essential questions upfront to determine if it fits the needs of the addict. The patient should develop a list of questions about the things that are important to discuss during therapy in addition to substance addiction. This may include saving a marriage, assisting a child dealing with divorce, physical abuse, financial issues, and many more. 

Whichever method you decide, remember to educate yourself and to ask all the most critical questions. To deal with an addiction is frustrating, and individuals frequently make important decisions when they are stressed out and feeling something needs to be done urgently. While this is true, it is owed to yourself and family members to investigate all options and find the right program that is best for you.

Goals of Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment

The first goal of family therapy for addiction treatment will be to overcome obstacles to recovery. In conversation about counseling sessions, an addict may feel criticized, judged, or scrutinized. Also, some family members may become reluctant to admit that they had played a role in the addict’s behavior by enabling their destructive habits.

Intentional or not intentional enabling will take place in many different ways which include:

  • Purchasing alcohol or drugs for someone at your home
  • Lying to friends about family members substance use
  • Excusing a family members violently destructive behavior, even if it has a direct impact on your own physical or psychological health
  • Taking care of bills for a family member who has fallen into financial trouble because of addiction

Another critical objective of family therapy is restoring a healthy and happy group structure. For the families that have been broken down by addiction, the construction of the residence will also break down completely. Family life will be disorganized and chaotic during these times. Parents may start to feel they lost their authority and become unable to set limits to their teens with addiction. 

Family therapy sessions must be focused on improving communication and restoring family rules. To go back to creating a safe and sober home environment is the top primary mission of family therapy for addiction treatment.

Addiction education is the top goal of family therapy for addiction treatment. During counseling therapy sessions, The members of the household will learn to identify the behaviors and thoughts that fuel an addictive home. They will learn how to cope with new strategies and learn conflict resolution skills to assist with dealing with stressful situations that come about daily within every household.

The families who decide who engage in family therapy for addiction treatment will be allowed to explore their strengths and weaknesses throughout the process. Through activities and intensive group sessions, the family members will pre-build trust and develop a stronger bond.

Benefits of Family Therapy for Addiction Treatment

The goal and purpose of family therapy for addiction treatment is to understand the group’s strengths and utilizing those strengths to assist the whole family with recovering. To do this, though, the emotional effects of the individual’s addiction must be addressed.

Family therapy for addiction treatment will allow these frustrations to be heard in a supportive environment. A trained addiction counselor will mediate and assist the family in staying on track with their purpose, which is getting the loved one the treatment they need. With the whole family involved and on the same page, the overall addiction treatment process will become more active.

Family therapy for addiction treatment has multiple benefits which include:

Setting Clear Treatment Goals

Families that are struggling with an addiction presence will become extremely overwhelmed by stress and might lose sight of the main issue. Although the focus is on substance abuse, to get back to how it started is crucial. However, for most families, substance abuse is just a symptom of a deeper problem.

Family therapy for addiction treatment will explore the root causes that trigger substance use. In the early stages of the therapy sessions, the treatment counselor will help the families to identify collective and personal goals. While the whole family is in therapy, emotions may start running high. If so, the therapist will guide the family back to the original purpose, which is getting a loved one to the treatment they need.

Improved Communication

A majority reason to hire a therapist is that treatment specialists have experience in these situations and can help assess the family’s communication if needed. The addiction therapist might introduce custom tools and exercises for the family to follow. These gentle approaches will help highlight any problems that may become problematic. 

The mission of family therapy for addiction treatment is to continuously bring the family back in line with their majority goal. Often, these goals will include recovery for the addict and to start healing emotionally again as a family.

Personal and Family Wellness

Substance addiction will affect the whole family and can leave painfully emotional scars. Family therapy for addiction treatment sessions will be structured to address the needs of each member of the family. Some emotional needs may come about, such as the desire to accept, forgive, or to move on.

As the family members continue to explore voicing their personal needs, the majority of guesswork will be alleviated with the help of the therapist. As each family member builds their emotional wellness, the overall health of the family will be improved. This can significantly make the recovery journey a little more easy for the addict and the loved ones involved.

Get Help Today 

At Footprints to Recovery, our mission is to empower our patients and their families to help them heal from the disease of addiction. Our family therapy for addiction treatment will help bring the family back into a secure unit by being coupled with other traditional therapy sessions like behavioral counseling.

Footprints to Recovery’s services will include intensive programs for each family member, both in an outpatient and an inpatient setting. At Footprints to Recovery, we will offer a comprehensive plan of therapies, which include cognitive behavioral therapy, addiction education classes, and medication-assisted treatment. Contact Footprints to Recovery today at our toll-free number at any time to get the answers you need about family therapy and our addiction treatment programs.

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