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Why Family Therapy is Important

According to Merriam-Webster, the most trusted online dictionary in America, isolation is defined as a detachment from others. But it is seldom a stand-alone mental health issue as it tends to exist alongside depression, which can sometimes intensify feelings of loneliness. To put this into perspective, we need only take a look at a survey conducted and published by Cigna, a leading worldwide health services organization located in Bloomfield, Connecticut. The survey revealed that an astonishing 60 percent of Americans report feeling lonely. What’s more, many of the same respondents stated that they felt ostracized and misunderstood.

These feelings of isolation, depression, and loneliness can be even more intense for those trying to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol. After all, it is not uncommon for some family members to distance themselves from other family members that are struggling with addiction. For this reason, many drug and rehab facilities across America will offer family therapy as part of a comprehensive addiction recovery program.

What Is Family Therapy?

For those who are not quite as familiar with family therapy as it relates to addiction recovery, it is a form of psychotherapy that works with families, including husbands and wives, to bring about positive changes that make it easier for users to put substance abuse behind them for good. Family therapy is so effective that it is a mainstay in terms of treatments offered by substance abuse counselors in nearly all drug and rehab facilities in America. Before detailing some of the primary areas where family therapy can be most beneficial, let’s take a look at how addiction can affect one’s household:

Codependence – Individuals in a codependent relationship seldom seek treatment for their substance abuse problem. And those who do seek help often relapse soon after completing rehab. Of course, this is not too surprising given that the behaviors commonly exhibited by a codependent individual can make it difficult for the user to follow through with post-treatment plans, which are crucial to long-term sobriety. To that end, family therapy counseling not only benefits the individual trying to overcome addiction but also the individual with a codependent personality disorder.

Bettering the lives of children in the household – Most will agree that children can be severely affected if a parent has a problem with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Studies show that individuals with a substance abuse problem are less involved in the lives of their children. As a result, the significant other who does not have chemical dependence will often have to shoulder more responsibility when it comes to child-rearing. Family therapy with a licensed therapist can help combat feelings of resentment felt by the individual’s significant other. Plus, it allows the user to recognize just how important it is for them to be involved in the lives of their children as opposed to continuing on a path of drug or alcohol addiction.

It should be noted that many other family problems can stem from substance abuse; however, these are among the ones reported by addiction counselors and other mental health professionals the most. That being said, family therapy is not a one size fits all type of psychotherapy, and a licensed therapist will carefully look at how addiction is affecting the life of the user as well as their family before deciding on which approach to employ.

What Are the Most Common Forms of Family Therapy Used to Combat Addiction?

Some of the most common forms of family therapy offered by therapists in rehab facilities across America include the following:

Family Engagement intervention – This form of family therapy is especially useful if the user has family members that are reluctant to participate in their counseling sessions. In short, family engagement intervention helps family members recognize just how important they are in terms of helping the user to get and stay clean.

Relational reframing – This form of family therapy goes hand-in-hand with family engagement intervention. In a nutshell, relational reframing helps the user and their family members to identify problems in the household that may have contributed to addiction and how to resolve effectively resolve them.

Family behavioral changes – This form of family therapy piggybacks off of relational reframing in that it teaches each family member how to make behavioral changes that can make the entire family stronger. In turn, this provides the user with the support that they need to put addiction behind them for good. Some of these behavioral changes include the following:

  • Developing more effective communication skills
  • Understanding how to effectively negotiate house rules
  • How to set boundaries
  • Learning how to better express feelings

Bottom Line

All in all, family therapy allows individuals to feel less isolated as they go through rehab, strengthens family bonds, and dramatically improves their chances of overcoming addiction. To learn more about the benefits of family therapy as it relates to addiction recovery or for help finding a rehab facility in your area that offers this form of counseling, you’re encouraged to speak with one of our associates today.


There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to addiction. Every person is unique and deserves the proper placement in the right program to best avoid potential relapse. Our “Phase Back to Life” outpatient programs combine the love, care, compassion and structure of a traditional rehabilitation center – along with a real life recovery program. We know you just want your loved one back and some peace of mind. That’s exactly how we designed our program. Call us today to learn more.

Our well-appointed facilities will ensure that your loved one is comfortable and safe.  We have taken great care to ensure that each individual feels at home from the start, so they are ready to engage in a life of recovery.  We have thought of everything to make sure it’s all taken care of.

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