Family Therapy for Substance Use Treatment

Treatment for addiction and substance misuse is multifaceted and involves a variety of services. An important service that is often included in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is family therapy.

This page will explain what family therapy is, how it is used in addiction treatment, and what family therapy for addiction recovery involves at Recovery First Treatment Center.

What Is Family Therapy for Addiction?

Family therapy, or family counseling, is a group of interventions that aim to help the family system—as a whole—recover from the hardships, trauma, and losses addiction can cause.1

Based on a systems model, family therapy recognizes that when a person struggles with a substance use disorder, the entire family unit is impacted. And, like other systems, a change in one part of the system results in a change in all other parts.1

During family therapy for addiction, family members work with a licensed clinician to gain a greater understanding of:1

  • How they are affected as an individual by the SUD.
  • How the entire family is affected as a whole by the SUD.
  • How they change their behavior in response to their family member’s SUD.
  • How to make changes both as a family and as an individual to address the impact of their family member’s SUD.

Overall, the main objectives of family therapy are:2

  • Each member of the family provides suitable support to the person struggling with the SUD or mental illness to promote recovery and minimize the risk of relapse.
  • Strengthening the emotional health of the entire family system so each member of the family can thrive.

How Does Family Therapy Work?

Family therapy works differently for each family, and under the family therapy umbrella, there are several therapeutic techniques that can be used. Certain techniques may be more beneficial for some families than others depending on the family’s specific needs.2

Common family therapy techniques used in the treatment of SUDs include:1

  • Behavioral family therapy (BFT) – BFT involves the entire family and utilizes behavioral principles, such as positive and negative reinforcement to change behavior. This type of therapy views substance use as a learned behavior that family members can inadvertently reinforce. During behavioral family therapy, family members learn how to improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Behavioral couples therapy (BCT) – BCT involves the person with the SUD and their intimate partner. Therapy focuses on the partner using behavioral strategies such as positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence and reduce relapse. The goals of BCT include easing relationship distress and improving relationship functioning.
  • Brief strategic family therapy (BSFT) – BSFT addresses adolescent substance use by identifying and changing family patterns of interaction that are likely to contribute to substance misuse among teenagers.
  • Functional family therapy (FFT) – FFT is behavioral-based, like BCT and BFT, and it aims to identify dysfunctional behavioral and interactional patterns that are likely contributing to adolescent substance use. Additionally, in response to risk behaviors, positive problem-solving skills are encouraged.
  • Solution-focused brief therapy – Instead of focusing on the cause of the family dysfunction, this therapy emphasizes and focuses on solutions to family problems. Families work together to identify goals in treatment.
  • Community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT) – CRAFT is a structured family approach that focuses on positive reinforcement strategies, is family-focused, and teaches family members to encourage their loved one to enter treatment and to stop using substances.

Family recovery support groups, such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, are also available (both in person and online) and they can:1

  • Provide additional support for family members.
  • Connect family members to community resources.
  • Provide a safe space for family members to process their experiences with addiction.

Benefits of Family Therapy for Addiction

Like individual therapy, family therapy has a multitude of benefits, and research suggests that behavioral health treatment that includes family therapy is more effective than treatment without it.1,2

Studies show the benefits of family therapy for drug addiction can include:1,2

  • Increased rates of treatment engagement and retention.
  • Helping to prevent substance misuse by other family members.
  • Improved motivation to be involved in treatment.
  • Reduced relapse rates for those in recovery.
  • Increased medication compliance for the person struggling with the SUD.
  • Decreased rates of hospitalization and re-hospitalization for those with the SUD.
  • Stress relief for family members.
  • Reduced psychiatric symptoms for the person with the SUD.
  • A reduction in early dropout rates during treatment.
  • Improved family functioning.
  • Promoting long-term recovery.

Family Therapy for Drug Addiction at Recovery First

At Recovery First Treatment Center—an alcohol and drug rehab near Miami—we understand and value the impact evidence-based therapies can have on a person’s recovery. Our licensed clinicians conduct several types of therapy, including family therapy for addiction treatment.

We recommend all patients participate in family therapy sessions, if possible. We recognize that some families may not be available or supportive, but whenever possible, we welcome their involvement in treatment.

How Family Members Can Help

Family members can help their loved one’s recovery by supporting their decision to get treatment and by participating in family therapy. Recovery First conducts weekly family therapy sessions.

Family therapy sessions are held virtually or by phone for those in residential treatment.

For individuals participating in a partial hospitalization program, family therapy can be held either virtually or in person if family members are able to attend.

Substance Use Treatment in Hollywood, Florida

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. Recovery First offers many levels of addiction treatment, including inpatient and outpatient programs as well as a variety of services and interventions to help you or your loved one stop using drugs and alcohol and learn how to live a life in recovery.

By calling , you can speak to a compassionate admissions navigator who can help you start the admissions process, explore using insurance to pay for rehab, and identify other rehab payment options available to you.

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