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.