Family therapy is a collection of therapeutic approaches that share a belief in family‐level assessment and intervention. A family is a system, and in any system each part is related to all other parts. Consequently, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes in all other parts. Therapy based on this point of view uses the strengths of families to bring about change in a range of diverse problem areas, including substance abuse.
Family therapy in substance abuse treatment has two main purposes. First, it seeks to use the family’s strengths and resources to help find or develop ways to live without substances of abuse. Second, it improves the impact of chemical dependency on the family. Frequently, in the process, marshaling the family’s strengths requires the provision of basic support for the family.
Our therapists facilitate discussions and problem solving sessions, often with the entire family group or subsets thereof, but sometimes with a single participant, who may or may not be the person with the substance use disorder.
Goals of Family Therapy
The integration of family therapy in substance abuse treatment is still relatively rare. Family therapy in substance abuse treatment helps families become aware of their own needs and provides genuine, enduring healing for people. Family therapy works to shift power to the parental figures in a family and to improve communication. Other goals will vary according to which member of the family is abusing substances. Family therapy can answer questions such as
- Why should children or adolescents be involved in the treatment of a parent who abuses substances?
- What impact does a parent abusing substances have on his or her children?
- How does adolescent substance abuse impact adults?
- What is the impact of substance abuse on family members who do not abuse substances?