Family Therapy and Drug Treatment
Family therapy might seem like an odd choice if you struggle with addiction. After all, addiction and the recovery process are solo pursuits, not family endeavors. Addiction is a family disease, though. From undermining your marriage to interfering with your ability to spend time with your children, addiction touches families in myriad ways. Family therapy can play a key role in helping you put the pieces back together.
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What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy, as the name implies, is group therapy you undertake with your family or with friends who are like family. But family therapy isn't just a group version of individual therapy. Instead, family therapy places unique demands on both the participants and the therapist. The therapist will need to balance the needs and emotions of many family members, and the goal of therapy is to help the family as a system, not individuals. Consequently, it's best to start family therapy only if you're already in individual therapy, or have already made significant progress toward your recovery.
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What Happens in Family Therapy?
Family therapy isn't so much a type of therapy as a broad classification. Just as there are many types of individual therapy - cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical-behavioral therapy, etc. - so too are there myriad approaches to family therapy. Some family therapists draw on principles gleaned from approaches to individual therapy. For instance, a family therapist who specializes in CBT might encourage each family member to closely examine how his or her emotions affect her behaviors, and how these behaviors affect the family system.
However, several varieties of therapy now exist that are designed specifically for family groups. Family systems therapy, for instance, treats the family as an institution or system in which each member plays a specific role. Defining and clarifying these roles can help improve family relationships, and addressing inappropriate roles may improve outcomes. You might, for example, be treated as the black sheep or a failure because of your addiction, causing family attention to turn away from larger problems and onto your addiction. Family systems therapy, in such a scenario, would encourage the family not to pathologize you and to instead focus on the family's unique set of issues.
The structure of family therapy is largely dependent on your needs and the therapist's approach to therapy. In most cases, there will be a strong focus on educating your family about the disease of addiction and mediating immediate conflicts. From there, you'll likely have a combination of group sessions during which you discuss issues that the entire family faces, and individual sessions during which you share private thoughts about your family, therapy, and what is and is not working in sessions.
To get the most out of addiction therapy in Idaho, it's important to be honest and to avoid "punishing" family members for things they say. Don't get angry with your mother simply because she shared the way your addiction affects her; sharing such information is a vital ingredient in the recipe for overcoming the pain of addiction.
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Am I a Good Candidate for Family Therapy During Drug Treatment in Boise?
Family therapy is not for everyone. You may benefit from family therapy if you're hoping to repair the damage your addiction has caused, address old conflicts, or simply develop a better relationship with the people who know you best. Not all families are the close and warm units we see in movies, though, so if your family is abusive, you may want to steer clear. Some other scenarios in which you may want to avoid family therapy include:
- You have just started your recovery journey, and your family is unsupportive.
- One or more members of your family has a history of being abusive.
- You don't want a good relationship with your family, and instead just want to use family therapy to air grievances.
- You're not comfortable being honest with your family.
- Your family does not want to participate; family therapy only works when each participant is happily and willingly there.
Choosing a Family Therapist During Drug Treatment in Idaho
The relationship you develop with your family therapist is the single most significant predictor of whether or not family therapy will work. Thus it's vitally important to carefully interview your therapist. If you're in rehab and dislike your therapist, be sure to speak up so you can be assigned a new one. If you're searching for a family therapist on your own, though, ask the following questions:
- How do you handle family members who are uncomfortable or reticent?
- How long have you been practicing family therapy?
- What approach(es) do you use in family therapy?
- How do you prevent bullying or piling on in therapy?
- What can we expect from therapy?
- How long will therapy take?
- How will we know we're making progress?
- Are you licensed to practice in my state?
- Have you ever been disciplined by a professional licensing board?
Your family can be your most important ally in the battle against addiction, but first, you have to address your family's demons. If you're ready to make peace with the past, family therapy may be one of the most important things you ever do during your addiction recovery in Idaho. Remember, getting the right alcoholism rehab and drug treatment in Idaho is an important step and we are here to help.