Family relationships are some of the most important relationships we will have in our lives, and our family interactions can go a long way toward supporting a loved one during and after their treatment for addiction. The idea of family therapy can be a little intimidating to some of us, but it needn’t be — family therapy is a positive thing, involving everyone in recovery and opening new doors. Here are five important things that will help you get the most out of family therapy.
Don’t Be Afraid of Family Therapy
The word “therapy” makes some of us uncomfortable. It may bring up fears of being judged, or of revealing family secrets, or simply of the unknown. Relax. No one is going to judge you, or force you to tell all your deep dark secrets if you don’t want to share them. The goal is to involve the whole family in the treatment process and to work toward all family relationships running smoothly. Judgment has no place here.
The word “therapy” may also have associations with weakness or the inability to take care of things ourselves—but it shouldn’t. Going to family therapy sessions doesn’t mean you’re weak, or that you’re incapable of dealing with things yourself—it just means that maybe there’s an easier way of doing them that you haven’t thought of yet.
How Be Involved In Family Therapy
For any type of therapy to work, you have to be involved. Show up for sessions. Participate in the discussion. Don’t stand on the sidelines and watch, be a participant. The goal is to connect the whole family in finding solutions together, and that only works when everyone is present and engaged. Your family is a team, and teamwork requires everyone to take an active role.
Be Honest About Your Needs
–Both with others and with yourself. Even if you must say, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about that right now,” honesty is key. Family therapy is all about relationships, and strong relationships are built on honesty. For therapy to be successful, you need to be honest with yourself, your family members, and the therapist.
Be Willing to Listen To Your Family
We humans have a tendency to hear what we expect to hear, rather than what people are actually saying. An important part of family therapy is being willing to really listen to what other family members have to say rather than hearing what you expect to hear—even if you disagree.
Be Open to Change
Family therapy is about ironing out the rough spots, so that the different relationships within the family interact smoothly. We tend to fall into patterns of behavior that we repeat over and over out of habit, whether they work or not, and one of the goals of therapy is to replace the patterns that don’t work with ones that do. Changing family dynamics may mean may mean adjusting your own behavior, or the way you react to others, or even the way the family behaves as a whole. Don’t interpret this as judgment, or let it frighten you.
In the end, it boils down to this: don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of judgment, don’t be afraid to be involved, don’t be afraid to be honest, don’t be afraid to listen, and most of all, don’t be afraid of change—change is a positive thing.
Family therapy is crucial in mending broken family relationships caused by addiction. At Roots Through Recovery, we have professional family therapists who can facilitate and make sure you get only the best results. Call Roots Through Recovery via (866) 766-8776 to schedule a FREE consultation with our team or visit us at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807.
- Brief Strategic Family Therapy for Adolescent Drug Abuse, National Institute on Drug Abuse, August, 2003 http://archives.drugabuse.gov/TXManuals/BSFT/BSFTIndex.html
- Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. 2004 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64266/
- Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. 2004 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64953/