Drug and alcohol addiction can change how a person behaves and impact how they interact with others around them. These changes are often noticed first by those closest to a person, such as their friends or family members.
Watching these changes occur in someone you love can be painful and can often cause many family members to grow distant, hopeless, or resentful.
Healing the divides caused by a loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction can require more than just a person seeking treatment.
The most effective way to address the effects of addiction on a family member and other problems within a household is to actively participate in the treatment process.
At Swift River, our addiction treatment programs encourage family involvement through regular communication and family therapy sessions.
This can help both patients and their family members recover from the effects of addiction within the family and offer a meaningful avenue for strengthening family support.
How Addiction Can Become A Family Matter
Addiction can cause significant rifts between people living with addiction and those closest to them, such as parents, siblings, spouses, and children.
Within a household, substance abuse can cause financial problems and increase the risk for violence, neglect, and behavioral problems in children.
This can create a stressful environment for family members of all ages and create an atmosphere awash in feelings of shame, embarrassment, and helplessness.
Healing relationships that have been negatively impacted by a family member’s addiction is not an overnight process. For many families, it can take years to recover from the effects of a loved one’s addiction.
The most productive setting for families to begin having an open and honest discussion about a loved one’s substance abuse is within family therapy.
Family Therapy At Swift River
Family therapy offers a structured space for people and their family members to address problems or concerns within relationships and improve the interaction between family members.
This process is guided by a family therapist, who can help moderate any emotional outbursts between family members and facilitate productive discussion during sessions.
The goals of family therapy in addiction treatment can depend on who is participating and other unique aspects of a family’s interpersonal dynamics.
Common areas of focus within family therapy sessions include:
- addressing how interactions within the family may have influenced a family member’s substance abuse
- sharing how addiction has impacted relationships in the family and household (if the patient lives with family)
- addressing negative patterns in communication and behavior
- renewing or building a stronger family support system
- discussing ways that family members can support their loved one in recovery
Participating in family therapy can be a beneficial opportunity for not only patients within a treatment program, but also for family members who may have a difficult time communicating with their loved one in healthy and effective ways.
Family Therapy Process
The process of family therapy may look different for each patient depending on each family’s unique needs.
Considerations that may impact the family therapy process:
- number of family members participating
- method of participation (i.e. in-person or over the phone)
- age of family members (e.g. children)
- how strong the connections are between family members
- prior history of family therapy
General Process for Family Therapy:
- Assessment: The family therapist guiding these sessions will begin with an assessment of how each family member interacts with one another. This can help the therapist identify specific goals for family therapy sessions.
- Discussion: The therapist will also offer prompts for discussion and give space for participants to discuss how their loved one’s addiction has affected relationships and the general atmosphere within the family.
- Identifying problems: A primary goal in family therapy is to identify negative communication patterns and behaviors within the family. This can help each participant become more aware of how their interactions are perceived by other family members.
- Adopting healthier patterns: Once participants have identified areas for improvement, therapy sessions can become more focused on finding ways to improve family communication and build a stronger family support system.
Family Involvement At Swift River
Family members of patients in addiction treatment are encouraged to keep open lines of communication with their loved ones. Depending on the type of treatment program, this may include phone calls during designated phone time or sending traditional mail.
One of the goals of our treatment process at Swift River is to immerse patients in a holistic, therapeutic environment that can be most conducive to their personal healing.
To best foster, this space for self-growth, visitation that extends beyond family therapy sessions is kept to a minimum.
Family members of patients at Swift River are asked to provide their support for patients within the space of family therapy sessions and phone calls.
This gives patients the time and space to benefit from interactions with others recovering from addiction as well as the support offered by our trained team of staff members.
Family Addiction Treatment Programs in Massachusetts
At Swift River, we offer effective treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction that incorporate the active participation of family members in a patient’s treatment process.
Our approach to family involvement in addiction treatment includes weekly family therapy sessions, lasting one hour each. During this time, family members are invited to participate in therapy with their loved one in-person or by phone through a conference call.
Our team of compassionate staff members possesses the tools and the knowledge necessary to provide effective support for both patients and their families throughout the treatment process.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about family involvement at Swift River and welcome your participation in your loved one’s treatment.
Learn more about family therapy and supportive services offered at Swift River by contacting us online or by phone today.