There are a number of different types of family therapy, and each one is designed with one goal in mind: to help all members of the family unit to communicate effectively with one another so they can get their needs met.
A systems theory is the foundation for most family therapy treatment models. Systems theory as applied to family therapy recognizes that:
- The functional family does not revolve around the illness of one or more individuals.
- The family is larger than the sum of its parts.
- Different members of the family are interconnected.
- Rules and boundaries define how the family should function.
- The family must be adaptable as members and their needs change.
Addressing the relationship breakdown that occurs when one or more members is living with a substance abuse disorder and/or a mental health disorder is imperative to the long-term recovery of the addicted person, but it requires providing therapeutic intervention to family members as well as the patient. Family therapy can lay the groundwork for the emotional healing of all involved and provide family members with what they need to be an effective support for their loved one when they return home from treatment.
Redefining the Family Structure
During an active addiction, the relationships within the family broke down in order to adapt to the dysfunctional behaviors of the addicted person. Broken trust, fear and resentment are often the hallmarks of a family in need of treatment, and each of these damages the healthy structure of the family unit. However the definition of family manifests for each patient – from the traditional family structure to extended family to a chosen family made up of peers – the family structure must be rebuilt in therapy to ensure the inclusion of respectful communication, honesty, and forgiveness in addition to the extraction of all enabling behaviors. When that occurs, a homeostatic balance can be achieved.
Models of Family Therapy
Family therapy can include everyone in the family, but in most cases, the focus is on one or two relationships at a time.
- Family disease model. Addiction is a medical disorder and this model of family therapy identifies as a disease that touches everyone in the family. This means that the addicted person is not the only one who requires treatment. All must heal if the family is going to be restored to functionality.
- Cognitive behavioral model. Addressing the perspectives, thought patterns, and behaviors that are instigating or driving problems between family members is the focus of cognitive behavioral family therapy. Rather than blaming others or inadvertently practicing codependent or enabling behaviors, the CB model helps patients to shift their perspective and problem-solve more effectively.
- Multidimensional family therapy model. The interaction between emotional, environmental, and behavioral issues is addressed, helping family members to find balance in their responses to each other despite obstacles or challenges.
- Family systems model. Based on the idea that families adapt to learn how to function around drug and alcohol addiction, the goal of this therapy is to identify the maladaptive behaviors that have developed through the course of an addiction and to correct them.
The most effective addiction treatment programs incorporate a wide range of therapeutic options to ensure that the patient receives support at every level of experience infected by their chronic drug use. Learn more about the elements of effective addiction treatment today when you contact Constellation Behavioral Health at the phone number above.