Family therapy programs deliver services to the entire family affected by addiction. Addiction can damage families in many ways. Family therapy programs consider this as they offer healing and resources to the loved ones and close relations of a person struggling with addiction. Many addiction treatment providers actually like to talk about addiction as a family disease. It isn’t something that can be limited to just the person with an addiction. It’s also worth recognizing that one major risk factor in developing an addiction is family history. That’s all the more reason to take the holistic approach to reform family structures and beliefs offered by family counseling programs in Nebraska.
What Does Family Therapy Focus On?
Family therapy programs are geared to addressing a number of problems that crop up among family members due to addiction. Many family members bring loaded, heavy emotions to the table. Fear, anger, shame, and frustration are all common emotions related to addiction. And they may be bottled up and hidden away for some time. Family therapy programs offer a safe, supportive space for family members to share what is on their minds. Some of the most common topics discussed during family therapy include:
- Financial problems
- Conflict resolution
A healthy family unit knows how to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts without resorting to violence or substance abuse. However, where addiction is present, those healthy habits are often absent. Enabling or codependent behaviors are another concern that is often tackled in therapy. Rooting out those negative cycles of behavior takes dedicated time and attention during therapy. Essentially, family therapy programs give time to whatever is most pressing in terms of helping a family heal and begin to understand each other.
How Do Family Therapy Programs Support Recovery?
Family therapy gives everyone affected by an addiction a chance to be involved. Even more importantly, it gives them a chance to heal. If you view addiction as a family disease, it makes sense to address that disease as healing the whole family. Moreover, addiction recovery is most successful when people have support and close relationships that hold them accountable for meeting recovery goals. Without family therapy strengthening relational bonds, that support network may be fragile or nonexistent.
Family therapy programs across Nebraska work hard to address dysfunctional family structures and unhealthy boundaries. Both of these may be impeding recovery. Two dysfunctional roles that often appear in families struggling with addiction are the scapegoat and the hero. First, the scapegoat is when one person gets blamed for the family’s issues. This is typically whoever has an addiction. This blame creates shame, guilt, and withdrawal that only serve to isolate them further and ensure their addiction continues.
The other common type of dysfunction is when one family member is operating as a hero. Perhaps seen most among the parents of addicted people, the hero tries to downplay issues, keep everyone happy, and give the world the appearance that all is fine. Heroes may even fall into certain codependent behaviors. They may cover for their addicted loved one and help them avoid consequences. They may also engage in denial and avoid dealing with a problem that is ultimately tearing their family apart.
On the face of it, they or their family may be putting them on a pedestal. In reality, the very foundations are crumbling around them. Family therapy programs address these types of dysfunction and many more to ensure balance and well-being return to a family unit.
Techniques Used in Family Therapy
Family therapy is similar to group therapy in that it is primarily discussion-based. It works on improving family communication skills and helping families learn how to care for each other. Some common techniques used by family counseling programs in Nebraska include journaling, role-playing, writing letters to other family members, learning coping mechanisms, stress reduction techniques, conflict resolution skills, and identifying triggers and self-beliefs that disrupt healthy family relations.
Learn more about family therapy programs in Nebraska and how they provide healing from the damage of addiction when you reach out to 402.698.3475.