Family therapy improves treatment outcomes, but it’s not without its challenges. Similar to individual therapy, the path is not always an easy one, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy can occur in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. It usually includes meeting with the client and the family members separately and then having group sessions. The client will set goals for the therapy, including improving strained familial relationships, saving a marriage, and changing the family dynamic.
Family therapy is one of the vital addiction therapies. The actions of the addict also impact those closest to them. There are nearly always unhealthy dynamics within the family that need to be addressed for a successful recovery. These can include enabling, blame, and angry outbursts. Addiction recovery also requires a reliable support system. Healthy family relationships are an essential source of support.
Challenges of Family Therapy
There is a range of challenges within the family when dealing with addiction. Overcoming these challenges through family therapy helps to rebuild relationships.
Lack of Communication
Family therapists of all types note that lack of communication is one of the most significant relationship problems. It’s also one of the biggest therapy challenges. Therapy hinges on effective communication.
Problems with communication can usually be divided into a few categories:
- Not expressing thoughts and feelings
- Expressing thoughts and feelings in an inappropriate way
- Not listening to the thoughts and feelings of others
- Reacting inappropriately to the words and actions of others
Some people aren’t comfortable expressing themselves because they don’t want to upset their loved one or fear their loved one’s reaction. The flip side of this is someone who focuses on their own emotions and perspective and isn’t willing to listen to the other side. When emotions run high, anger and blame can lead to inappropriate behavior, a reaction to your feelings, or a response to another person’s actions.
Anger, Resentment, and Mistrust
A communication breakdown contributes to feelings of anger, resentment, and mistrust. When someone has a drug addiction, they often act out of character. They may lie or steal in an attempt to get drugs or hide their use, leading to feelings of betrayal and mistrust. The addict may also mistrust family members because they feel attacked. Family members may question or be upset by their behavior and learn not to trust them, even when they’re telling the truth.
Once the family begins to communicate in family therapy, these feelings will come to the surface. It can be hard to admit to or hear about these feelings. They cause the family members pain, underneath the anger. But they can be overcome with the help of a therapist.
Unhealthy Family Dynamics
When someone has an addiction, unhealthy family dynamics are almost guaranteed to occur. We all want to believe the best about our loved ones and protect them from harm, so enabling develops. Enabling includes:
- Giving someone money for drugs
- Making excuses for your loved one
- Paying bills for them
- Lying to others about their drug use
The enabler often blames themselves for the addiction or the trouble that it brings.
The flip side of this is someone who is frequently angry and belittles the addict. They make it very clear that they disapprove of the person’s behavior.
Both of these reactions come from a place of love and only want the best for the person, but they contribute to the addiction cycle and the breakdown of the family dynamic. Addiction therapies can help each person see their role in the unhealthy dynamics and take steps to correct it.
Find Addiction Therapies at Midwest Detox
Family therapy is one of the addiction therapies we offer at Midwest Detox in Maumee, Ohio. We understand that addiction recovery requires treating all aspects of addiction, including how it has impacted relationships with loved ones. If you are ready to begin the healing process of recovery, contact us today at 833.647.0392, or contact us online.