When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, it affects your entire family. As a healthcare worker, first responder, lawyer, pilot, or other professional, you are understandably concerned about your relationships with co-workers, employees, and managers. However, your family members are the ones most deeply impacted by your addiction. Who needs intensive family therapy? Those you are closest to and who are most invested in your recovery.
A Complex Role
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published a review on the complex role that families can play in substance abuse treatment. The experts emphasize that the family has a central role to play in the treatment of any health problem, including substance abuse or alcoholism.
Your family members can be a source of help in the treatment process, but they must also manage the consequences of your addictive behavior. Individual family members are concerned about your substance abuse, but they also have their own goals and issues. Intensive family therapy can improve the effectiveness of your treatment as well as the overall family dynamics.
The Purpose of Intensive Family Therapy
In determining who needs intensive family therapy, it is helpful to understand its goals. There are two primary purposes. The first is to use the family’s strengths and resources to help find or develop ways to live without drugs or alcohol. The second purpose is improving the impact of chemical dependency on both you and your family. Frequently, in the process, marshaling the family’s strengths requires providing basic support for the family.
Addiction affects family members as they suffer the consequences of the addictive behaviors. Your family members will inevitably adapt to your behavior as they develop patterns of accommodation and ways of coping with your substance use. Your family will try to restore and maintain a positive family balance while struggling with engaging and communicating with you as you face your own challenges of addiction.
Substance abuse impairs physical and mental health and can seriously damage your relationships with friends and family members. Intensive family therapy helps you and your family move toward a healthier place in your relationship. You need your support system as you work through addiction treatment. Once your family members understand how to best support you, sustaining your sobriety becomes much more achievable.
Benefits for You and Your Family
As the SAMHSA review suggests, your family members may have a stronger desire to move toward overall improved functioning in your family system. That may compel and even provide leverage for you to seek and/or remain in treatment through any periods of ambivalence you may have about achieving a sober lifestyle.
It also helps to clarify boundaries between dysfunctional family members. As you work through your treatment program, you may realize that you need to detach from family members who are actively using drugs or alcohol or who are negative influences on you. This process can alleviate your stress and create emotional space for you to focus on the tasks of recovery.
Intensive family therapy helps your family realize that change is needed in all family members. You and your family will learn how to make interpersonal, intrapersonal, and environmental changes that affect you when you are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The therapy helps your family work together more effectively and to define personal goals for therapy beyond a vague notion of improved family functioning. As change takes place, family therapy helps all family members understand what is occurring. This out‐in‐the‐open understanding removes any suspicion that the family is “ganging up” on you.
Genuine, Enduring Healing
Family therapy in substance abuse treatment helps families become aware of their own needs and provides genuine, enduring healing. Family therapy works to improve communication and to strengthen relationships. The ultimate goal of intensive family therapy is to work as an integral part of an integrated care model for your recovery.
Intensive Family Therapy for Professionals at Providence Treatment
Addiction is a family disease that affects not only you but also your family members. When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, it stresses your family in many ways. At Providence Treatment, we specialize in helping healthcare workers, first responders, lawyers, pilots, and other professionals. We work with you and your family through intensive family therapy sessions designed to address broken lines of communications and to heal relationships.
During COVID-19, we offer telehealth to support you while keeping everyone safe and healthy because it’s important for you to be able to prioritize your mental health during these challenging times. You can overcome addiction with outpatient treatments at Providence Treatment. If you need help, contact us at 484.469.9592.