What is Family Therapy?

Addiction is a disease that affects more than the individual who is struggling with alcohol and drugs. Family and friends are undoubtedly impacted when a loved one has an addiction. Because of this, family therapy is a common recommendation for families who have someone living with an addiction.

There are a variety of ways that families can be impacted by addiction. Watching someone you care for struggle and knowing there are limits to how much you can help is exhausting and heartbreaking. This can be a lot for family members to carry.

A common experience is a breakdown in communication and trust within relationships. When someone is struggling with an addiction, oftentimes their life becomes focused on their use. This can lead to them missing family events, breaking promises, and dishonesty. Small things, like not responding to texts and phone calls, could also hurt these relationships.

Is Addiction Genetic?

The role genetics play in addiction has been a topic of debate among researchers and professionals for some time. We know that genetics play a large role in health conditions such as heart disease and type 1 diabetes. So, it makes sense that we would wonder if they play a role in addiction. 

At this time we do not have a simple answer to this question because more research is needed. Research into this question is ongoing, and once completed will help mental health professionals provide the best possible care. For now, we can use the information that we do know. 

What we do know is that our environment plays a significant role in our risk of developing an addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, children who are exposed to after-school activities and exercise have a reduced risk of developing an addiction. 

If you think about it, it makes sense that our environment makes an impact on us. Children learn from the adults around them. So, if they grow up with a parent who uses drugs and alcohol to cope with challenging emotions and situations, that becomes their normal, and they do not learn alternative ways to cope. Now, this does not mean that if your parents struggled with an addiction, you will too. Addiction is a complicated disease that has many factors that come into play.

What are the Benefits of Family Therapy?

For the families who decide to engage in family therapy, there are several benefits they can experience. One thing to note is that family therapy focuses on the family as a whole, not necessarily the individual who is struggling with an addiction. A large component of family therapy is providing knowledge about addiction and recovery. This can help everyone gain a better grasp of the disease concept of addiction, and learn how to move forward in a healthy manner. 

The second benefit of family therapy would be improving communication. Time can be spent exploring healthy communication styles and techniques. Additionally, therapy sessions can be a safe space to talk about difficult topics with the help of a counselor. 

Family therapy sessions will explore the relationship between different family members and look for relationship patterns that could be improved. For example, it is not uncommon for families who have someone struggling with addiction to have some codependency and enabling patterns. Once these patterns are recognized, you can work to establish healthy boundaries within your relationships. 

When a family has a significant change, such as someone who starts sobriety, there will be changes within the family. For most of us, change is uncomfortable and can bring up a variety of emotions including fear, resentment, and uncertainty. Family therapy sessions are the perfect place to talk about these concerns. If family members are willing to take a risk and be vulnerable in sessions, they will make the most gains. 

Overall, your family therapist will help you and your loved ones improve your relationship. While many families are able to reconnect and move forward together, there are others who decide it is healthier to be apart, and that is okay! Therapy sessions can help you talk through your thoughts and emotions so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

Who Needs Family Therapy?

Family therapy can benefit any family who would be open to the experience. No matter what stage of your life you are in, therapy is a positive resource that can strengthen your mental health. 

When it comes to addiction treatment, the truth is, that most families could utilize family therapy. Families who are adjusting to the changes that come with recovery can use therapy as a place to develop goals for the future. 

Family sessions can also be beneficial for families who feel that their relationships have been damaged or strained by the presence of an addiction. Common consequences of addiction include resentment, a loss of trust, a loss of intimacy, and a loss of communication. All of these concerns can be addressed in family sessions with the help of supportive counselors. 

It was noted above that families who have unhealthy patterns such as codependency and enabling would benefit from family therapy. For clarification, codependency is a relationship pattern where one individual cares for another (usually the individual struggling with addiction) rather than letting them take care of themselves. The caretaker usually puts their own needs on the back burner in these cases, which can lead to resentment. Enabling is a common piece of codependency and can include things like making excuses for your loved one or paying for their bills while they are in active addiction.

How to Find Family Therapy Programs in Ohio

Located two hours from Cleveland, OH, you will find the Findlay Recovery Center. Our treatment facility offers a Medically Supervised Detox Program, an Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program, a Partial Hospitalization Program, an Intensive Outpatient Program, an Outpatient Treatment, and a family therapy program. 

Our family therapy program can be added to the treatment plan for an individual who is enrolled in one of our other programs, as well as for families who do not have a loved one in addiction treatment with us. 
If you are interested in learning more about our Ohio family therapy program, we encourage you to call (855) 605-0129 to speak with a Findlay Recovery Center representative, today.

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