Addiction within a family can erode trust and interfere with healthy communication. The effects on loved ones are often wide-reaching. As a result, addiction is often called a family disease. What better way to address the damage to families than by engaging in a family therapy program? This type of therapy is offered in many addiction treatment centers. If you or a loved one is entering addiction treatment, be sure to consider the benefits of family therapy and how it can be woven into the overall addiction treatment plan for the person seeking to begin recovery.
At CeDAR, a family therapy program is an essential pillar of our addiction treatment plans. Family members can begin to heal in the safe space provided in rehab. They can also better support their loved one throughout rehab and on into a lifetime of recovery. Learn more about family therapy benefits, how family therapy works, and anything else about addiction recovery at CeDar. Call 720.848.3000 or use our online form to connect with someone from our experienced and knowledgeable team.
What Is a Family Therapy Program?
Family therapy takes place with the key members of the family of the rehab patient and a trained therapist. We understand that a family’s dynamics affect everyone in the group. People will behave differently within a family than with friends or at work. These behaviors have become entrenched, for good or ill. Even when there is plenty of love to go around, finding a way out of embedded attitudes and beliefs into a healthier way of interacting can be challenging.
When a family member has a substance use disorder (SUD), the whole family tends to adjust, intervene, engage, or otherwise respond to the situation—not always in healthy ways. In a family therapy program, the family comes to understand the dynamics that have played out for years or even decades. They can then find ways to heal and shift habitual behaviors that are damaging or hurtful.
How Family Therapy Benefits Everyone
Family therapy is a powerful tool that helps your family member begin recovery from addiction and also helps you—the members of the family who are part of that person’s life. You will learn about addiction, how you have participated unknowingly in that addiction, and what steps to take to heal everyone. You will also realize the hurt you have experienced and begin to heal.
Five of the key benefits of family therapy include the following.
1. Healthy Communication
This is where you heal the dysfunctional communication that has evolved over a lifetime. You can learn healthy, open, vulnerable communication strategies that strengthen compassion, boundaries, and trust (see below).
2. Mutual Compassion
It is hard for people who do not have SUD to understand the experiences of addiction. It is equally challenging for those struggling with addiction to feel compassion for the people around them and realize they are also affected by addiction’s challenges and pitfalls. Rectifying previous misunderstandings and building genuine empathy for everyone’s disparate experiences is an essential first step in healing.
3. Boundary Creation
One of the casualties of addiction is healthy boundaries. As the person with a SUD rides roughshod over expected norms of behavior and family interactions, the family, in turn, works hard to be supportive, which sometimes results in enabling behaviors and co-dependency. In other families, reactions are based on anger and ultimatums, which are no more effective than misguided support. Learning to create boundaries while maintaining compassion and love is healthy for everyone involved.
4. Rebuilding Trust
People with an addiction can wear down family trust by lying or stealing to support their habit. In turn, they mistrust their family because they fear being caught and criticized for their actions. Exploring this lack of trust and rebuilding it by using communication skills, developing empathy, and maintaining healthy boundaries can be done in family therapy.
The goal of addiction rehab and family therapy is healing for all family members—the individual struggling with the SUD and that person’s loved ones.
The potential impact of a family approach to rehab therapy is enormous. It is, in most cases, not only appropriate but necessary for the best recovery outcomes.
Learn More About Family Therapy at CeDAR
In addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy is one of the fundamental treatment modalities offered at CeDAR, where we provide trauma-informed psychotherapy and psychiatry services in various programs. We offer gender-specific residential addiction treatment, inpatient dual diagnosis treatment, extended residential care, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an outpatient 12-week program, and an addiction treatment program for professionals. Reach out to CeDAR today to learn more by calling 720.848.3000. Let our experienced and knowledgeable team answer your questions about family therapy as part of addiction recovery.