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You may have heard of counseling, or psychotherapy, to help someone with an addiction. Family Therapy is just that, except that the one going to therapy is not just the individual struggling, but the entire family.
While individual therapy focuses on the thoughts, behaviors and emotions of one person, family therapy focuses on the relationships, and aims to understand and validate the experiences of all family members. The goal of family therapy is to bring clarity to all relationships, and to foster repair and closeness if family members choose.
Family therapists believe that problems exist between people, not within people. In the addiction context, a family therapist will explore with the family how substance use is embedded in a cycle of interaction within the family. The more the young adult acts like a fugitive hiding, lying the more a parent acts like a detective snooping, chasing — and visa versa. In addition, family therapists can provide additional education about substance use for the whole family and support family members in reducing their unhelpful behaviors and increasing their effective behaviors.
Family therapists help identify new skills and then coach family members in the practice of these new skills. Anxiety, anger, frustration and a deep worry often interfere with parents renovating their approach to family life. Family Engagement interventions typically take place during the initial phase of treatment, though investment and goal setting are continually revisited in family therapy. The second element, Relational Reframingconsists of interventions deed to move away from individual ways of defining problems and generating solutions, and toward an understanding focused on relationships.
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The third core element, Family Behavior Changeaims to shift the behavior of family members. These interventions aim to teach concrete new skills and encourage individual behavior changes that will allow for improved family relationships. New skills and behaviors are positively reinforced and coached, for both individuals and the entire family. The fourth element, Family Restructuringaims to change the way the family system is governed; that is, to shift underlying beliefs, premises and family rules.
Family members are encouraged to understand the dynamics of their family, and how these dynamics are linked to the problematic behavior.
It ends up prompting shifts in attachment and emotional processes between family members. Even without formal family therapy, parents can begin to think about how they can be resources for their teen, and how relationships could shift in their families to better support a teen who is struggling with substance use.
We also know that the most effective way to change behavior is through positive reinforcementso in addition to boundaries and consequences for less healthy choices, parents can look for opportunities to positively reinforce the healthy choices the teen is making in their everyday life.
Because we know some teens do use substances, parents should encourage their teens to avoid drugs but also talk about reducing risk if they or people they hang out with do use drugs. Also, providing fact-based and honest drug education makes parents more credible and again more likely to be someone their teen comes to for advice or help. Stay focused on the positive relationship and your lifelong bond with them, and offer compassion and love.
It is truly the most important thing and has the biggest positive influence on their behavior. Learn more.
Family engagement. I want therapy to be a place where you can talk about what you think is going well, going not so well, and what you would like to be different. Relational reframing. Family behavior change. For example, new skills that a family therapist might teach a family could include assertive communication skills, enforcing limits, negotiation of rules and boundaries, expressing feelings more effectively, and others.
Parent and family drug support line
Family restructuring. A family therapist might help the family become aware of this premise, and might introduce new beliefs about the value in speaking with each other about difficult feelings. There may also be beliefs about different roles two different parents occupy, and family therapists can help identify a shared way that both parents can respond to their. What is your child thinking and feeling?
What is your child hopeful about or worried about? What does your child think is good about using drugs? Is there anything your child worries Drug counselling for families related to drugs, or about risks of the behavior?
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What does your child believe that you do not properly understand or value? On This. Aaron Hogue, PhD. Published August