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Many families struggle to overcome the challenges and emotional distress caused by substance use disorder (SUD). According to Family Process, “Family therapy has helped repair relational ruptures and restore stability within families for decades.” West Coast Recovery Centers offers therapy and other treatment services to help families process trauma and heal relationships affected by substance abuse. Clinicians use multiple therapeutic tools to ensure clients and their loved ones have the support they need to heal and create a safe recovery environment. 

Why Is Family Support Important During Recovery?

According to the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, “The effects of a SUD on a specific family or concerned significant other are determined by the severity of the disorder, the presence of other serious problems such as psychiatric illness, behaviors exhibited by the family member with an SUD, support available for the family, and the family members’ coping strategies.” The impact of substance abuse on family members affects how they support their loved one’s recovery.  

Family therapy increases family participation in treatment by helping them do the following:  

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Set healthy boundaries 
  • Actively listen to the needs of each family member 
  • Address unhealthy family dynamics and relationship issues 

Family members have a deeper connection and may notice potential triggers or other issues before members of the care team. Incorporating family members into the treatment process can provide essential insights to clients and clinicians. 

How Can People Heal Relationships Through Family Therapy During Treatment?

Family therapy is an excellent tool for strengthening support systems. Studies have shown, “[I]n SUD treatment, family counseling focuses on how the family influences one member’s substance use behaviors and how the family can learn to respond differently to that person’s substance misuse.”

Families heal during treatment by doing the following: 

  • Acknowledging the effect of substance abuse on each member of the family
  • Communicating needs and recovery goals 
  • Learning more about the impact of addiction and the recovery process

Not all families are good candidates for family therapy. In cases where relationships are toxic or unsafe, the care team may suggest other treatment options to address relationship issues. Each client undergoes comprehensive assessments to determine what factors may impact their treatment and sobriety. Healthy family relationships are important for long-term recovery. The care team works with clients to choose the best approach to managing conflict or relationship problems within a family unit.

Does Family Therapy Always Heal Relationships?

Family therapy is a tool for helping people identify and address issues related to their mental health and relationships. However, family therapy is not suitable for all situations. As noted in Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Family therapy might be contraindicated if other family members are active substance abusers, violent, deny that the client’s substance abuse is problematic, or remain excessively angry.”

Family therapy may not be helpful for the following: 

  • Individuals who have no supportive family members 
  • Families with personal, religious, or cultural beliefs against the use of therapy 
  • Situations where the primary issues causing addiction are unrelated to family dynamics

Some families require multiple approaches to address relationship issues or maladaptive family dynamics. Often, there are family members who fail to engage in the recovery process, making it more difficult for other individuals in the family to heal. Clinicians can assist clients in finding ways to motivate family members to participate in recovery. However, in some cases, clients may need to find alternatives to family therapy.

What Are Alternatives to Family Therapy?

Family therapy is not the only option for clients struggling with relationship issues. Sometimes, family members begin family therapy and discover they would benefit more if each family member attends individual therapy. In addition, many community-based self-help groups support people in recovery and their loved ones. West Coast Recovery Centers guides clients through determining what resources and services will help their families overcome challenges related to recovery. 

Some common alternatives to family therapy include: 

  • Educational classes on mental health and addiction recovery 
  • Art therapy and other alternative holistic therapies 
  • Couples counseling

Clinicians may adjust treatment plans as necessary to incorporate various family support options. Every client has different needs, and the care team personalized treatment to accommodate those needs. Family members may also benefit from referrals to outside therapy and treatment services in addition to attending family therapy.  

How Can Families Heal Relationships and Provide Support During Treatment?

Healing relationships takes time, effort, and a desire to build a healthier future. Families can support their loved ones and encourage them to develop healthier routines by doing the following: 

  • Creating a healthy home environment
  • Taking steps to address any relationship issues through healthy communication
  • Holding loved ones accountable for their sobriety 
  • Being willing to compromise, heal, and grow together 

Families can play an active role in their loved one’s recovery from SUD. West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients and their loved ones with the tools and resources to repair damaged relationships and move forward together. 

Family therapy is an essential part of the recovery process for many clients in treatment. Family dynamics often play a crucial role in how people respond to treatment and aftercare. However, not all families are in a place where they can benefit from family therapy. Some family members may have personal beliefs against therapy or other issues keeping them from participating. The care team at West Coast Recovery Centers collaborates closely with clients and their loved ones to determine what treatment services will help families heal. Clinicians only offer family therapy as an option to clients who would benefit from the service. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (760) 492-6509.

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
DHCS Licensing and Certification Division