Dr. Peter Laqueur was the first theorist and practitioner for multiple family group therapy (MFGT). Dr. Laqueur believed that a MFGT program helps to instill hope, not only with the patient, but with the entire family through intensive family therapy. He often felt that the family members needed therapy as much as, and sometimes more than, the hospitalized family member. His research proved that when you focus on the family system, the identified patient had less re-admissions to the hospital and an overall greater satisfaction with family members.
Multiple Family Group Therapy is an innovative approach to address the disease of addiction within the family system witha variety of addiction treatment programs. The group member begins to understand their need for recovery, even if they do not have an active substance use disorder. They begin to understand that blaming their discontentment on the alcoholic or addict in their family system, does not create change within their lives.
We often hear the slogan, “Addiction is a family disease!” However, very few treatment programs focus on the education and treatment of families. At Providence Treatment, we take our family work very seriously! Each family is invited to become a part of treatment, while evaluating and gaining a greater awareness about how addiction affects each member of the family. The systemic learning and recovery that can take place within a multi-family group can be significant at our Philadelphia addiction treatment center.
Typically, we start the group by each group member introducing themselves and stating their reason for attendance. The group spends 5-10 minutes in a mindfulness meditation exercise, attempting to focus and decrease the restless and worried minds. The group leader decides on a topic and presents a brief didactic teaching about the topic. After the teaching, the group becomes more of a process group, sharing their experiences and receiving support from others who have similar stories and struggles.
We know that addiction is present through multiple generations within a family. In MFGT, we can sometimes have up to four generations present in one session. The addiction narratives can be both rich and disturbing when reflecting on how alcohol, for example, has taken the lives of many of their family members throughout the generations without the help of an alcohol addiction rehab center. We use this information to shed light on the importance of prevention and treatment within the family, instead of blaming the alcoholic or addict within the family.