Substance use disorders and mental health conditions can be dealt with if the person experiencing them has the right support and resources. Family is one of the most important sources of support, as most people will spend most of their private time with their family members. However, when the family dynamic is unproductive or unhelpful, people can struggle to get the support they need. Teens, in particular, are vulnerable to guilt, resentment, codependence, secrecy, and denial that often accompany an unhealthy family dynamic. Family therapy is a major part of many substance use disorder treatment programs.
If you or someone you care about needs the help of a family program to strengthen their support system, we at CeDAR would be more than happy to guide you. We understand that addiction affects not just one person but everyone who cares about them. Our comprehensive addiction treatment programs include family therapy so that everyone in the family can strengthen their bonds and begin to heal. If you or a family member require treatment for drug or alcohol use, give us a call at 720.848.3000. You can begin your recovery in our UCHealth-affiliated facility in Denver.
What Is Family Therapy?
The main goal of family therapy is to address conflict and improve communication and interaction between family members. The word “family” is used loosely, as the individuals involved in family therapy and the patient may not necessarily be blood relatives. A person’s family, in this case, is the people who have close bonds with the patient and have a major influence on their life.
A family therapy program promotes healing for all family members by giving them the tools to work together positively. A therapist or counselor will help the participants examine their behaviors, attitudes, and feelings and how they relate to each other within the family.
3 Family Therapy Activities
While the end goals of family therapy are generally the same, there is not always a set process or program to follow during the sessions. Each family is different, and what proves effective for one group may not work for another. There are, however, activities that can assist in getting people to open up and talk productively about their issues. Here are a few of the many activities that can happen in family therapy:
1. Emotions Ball
A common family therapy activity, the Emotions Ball activity, has the family collaboratively write various emotions on different colored ball sections. Often a beach ball is used for ease of selection. The patient and the family stand in a circle, passing the ball back and forth. Once a person catches the ball, they will have to describe a time when they felt the emotion facing the rest of the group. The rest of the therapy participants must then listen while that person is speaking. The goal is to become comfortable expressing emotions and teach active listening.
2. Mirroring Activity
In this simple activity, two family members must face each other, and one will lead the activity. The other participant’s goal is to mirror the leader’s gestures and movements as best they can. This activity allows members to become more in tune with each other’s body language and emotions while teaching them to give their full attention to each other.
3. Feelings Charades
Much like normal Charades, the word guessing game, one family member will pick out a card with a particular emotion or feeling written on it. They then will have to act out that emotion or feeling without speaking, and the rest of the participants will have to guess the word. Each family member turns so that the therapist or counselor can see how each prefers to express themselves.
Start Healing with Family Therapy at CeDAR
Substance use disorders can cause friction and distrust between family members. Once a patient is navigating recovery, it can still be difficult for them to restore damaged relationships. Family therapy allows the patient and their loved ones to understand each other better and start the healing process together. Some benefits of these simple family therapy activities can include:
- Improved communication skills
- Improved conflict resolution
- Enhanced relationship bonds
- A better understanding of each other’s emotions
At CeDAR, we invite families into the treatment process. A family therapy program gives family members a voice and shows them how to talk to their loved ones about a substance use disorder. This is crucial to help ease the feelings of distrust, fear, and anger that substance use has caused. With this foundation, the whole family can begin to recover. If you are ready to have your whole family support you in your recovery, contact CeDAR at 720.848.3000 to get started.