What Are the Steps to Family Therapy?
Some types of therapy provided in response to an addiction are offered on an individual basis. For example, people who have an addiction might be encouraged to meet with a counselor in a one-on-one therapy session on a regular basis to talk about how the problem developed and how it could be addressed in the future. These individual sessions can be quite powerful. But sometimes therapists use different techniques to help, and family therapy is one such approach.
Family therapists recognize that some issues (like addiction) impact the entire family, not just the person who has the addiction. Since this can impact multiple people, therapists reason that the solution should include multiple people too.
How Family Therapy Works
View a step-by-step on how to follow through on a family commitment
Step 1: Choose a provider.
There are a number of different people who can provide family therapy, including counselors, psychiatrists, therapists, and psychologists. Families should ask if the provider has treated addiction before and they should find out what sort of training the person has in treating the issues unique to them. Families should also determine the fees involved and how much they might be asked to pay once insurance payments have been processed.
Step 2: Make an appointment.
It might be obvious, but conversations about addiction and its impact are not conversations that families can have on the fly. These are planned conversations, and they must be held on an appointment basis. Some therapists prefer to have all family members come to all appointments, but others like to hold grouped appointments that include some people but not everyone. The counselor can guide those discussions and help families prepare for what to do.
Step 3: Prepare to learn.
Addiction can seem mysterious and strange, especially to those impacted by them. Family therapy is designed to provide a great deal of information about how addiction progresses and how it can cause harm to both individuals and families. Early family therapy sessions tend to focus on education and information, so everyone who participates has a good understanding of how addiction has impacted themselves and the person they love.
Step 4: Develop coping skills.
Understanding an addiction is important, but it is even more important for families to understand what to do in the face of the addiction. They can benefit from being prepared to respond to relapses and how to provide appropriate praise. Therapy sessions will assist with helping participants develop coping skills, and those skill-building sessions tend to begin when education sessions are complete.
Step 5: Be honest.
Some families may know what to say or what to do to hide the fact that someone they love is experiencing addiction, and it can be hard to turn that behavior off for therapy. Some families enroll in therapy while continuing to attempt to hide the problems they are facing. It is best, in general, for families to talk openly about their thoughts, feelings, and wishes for treatment. That is the best way to make the most of each session.
Step 6: Repeat.
Family therapy comes with many goals, and often, these are not goals that can be completed with just one or two meetings. Most families need 5-20 family therapy sessions in order to see real results. That means families that enroll should be prepared to go to meetings on a regular basis, often for a long period of time, in order to get the transformation they have been looking for.
Family Therapy in Lafayette, NJ
Family therapy is a commitment, and it can be sometimes hard for family members to understand why they should participate at all. By the time they enroll, they may have dealt with years and years of dysfunction. But, as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out, most people with substance misuse issues maintain close ties with their families. That means families can be real agents of change, in terms of an addiction. They can be the catalyst that makes things happen, so the work is valuable. Families in need should enroll.
If a member of your family is struggling with an addiction, reach out to our drug rehab in Lafayette, NJ right now. We will connect you with one of our rehab admissions navigators who can help guide you in the right direction.
Do not wait any longer to get the help you and your family need. Call us at to get started on a brighter, more hopeful future.