The Benefits of Family Systems Therapy

Drug addiction | July 15 , 2022

When treating addiction, it is important to supplement traditional treatment with mental health care in order to address any co-occurring disorders. The number of multifaceted, inclusive rehab centers has increased recently, and developments in addiction treatment are emerging which offer a variety of therapy services to patients and their families. Family systems therapy is one specific and flexible type of treatment employable in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Family systems therapy treats each family as a unique unit intertwined by relationships. The individual is inseparable from the family system present in their lives. Because of this, what affects one member of the family affects the family system as a whole. The beliefs and values of each member contribute to the dynamics and interactions of the family.

For those who have watched loved ones suffer from addiction, it is obvious that the patient’s battle can weigh on those close to the situation. Often partners or loved ones can become co-dependent, or otherwise contribute to or get caught up in the downward spiral created by an untreated addicted family member.

Family systems therapy involves family members meeting with a therapist alongside the addiction treatment patient for meetings averaging about an hour, usually at least once a week. The family systems therapy techniques do not involve singling one person out, but rather asking the entire family to weigh in on a situation. This fosters a loving and collaborative relationship in the face of addiction, which can so often be a wedge forcing people apart.

Benefits Of Family Systems Therapy

  • Involve any and all members of the family

Ideally, all members of a nuclear family will be involved in family therapy. This increases input and empowers individual voices in creating a proactive treatment strategy. Family therapy involves a lot of work to improve empathy among family members and fostering deeper, closer relationships. As nearly 60% of adults entering therapy are parents of children under 18, the impact on the future of the family is immeasurable.

  • Develop communication skills

For many people, talking candidly to family members about sensitive and personal subject matters does not come easily. Family systems therapy revolves around the need for healthy communication. A therapist will assist family members in identifying areas of communication that need to be strengthened and will help every participant to express their views and emotions. These skills help the family to cope collaboratively with the diagnosis of addiction in a family member.

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the family system

One of the benefits of bringing a therapist into the family circle is the addition of an outside perspective on the family system. This unbiased observer is better equipped to identify issues in the familial structure, as well as find the family’s interpersonal strengths.

  • Build a support system

Therapists will help the family prepare for the likely event of a relapse. This should not be viewed as a failure, but as an event that must be responded to properly. By having a plan in place, the family can band together to support their loved one with care and efficiency.

  • Strengthen the entire family

With a successful course of family systems therapy, the family unit that emerges at the conclusion is significantly stronger than before. Collaborative creative problem solving is practiced, and members are also instructed on better communication skills. This enables every family member to move forward with greater resources to face challenges as a team.

If you have a case in which a substance use disorder is having a deteriorating effect on the family, family systems counseling can be an effective way to address those issues.