Substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health disorders do not occur in a vacuum. Instead, their effects have far-reaching impacts on the lives of the affected individual and their family members. Family therapy is essential to treatment and recovery because it addresses how these conditions impact family relationships and fosters healing and recovery for all involved.
Addiction and mental health experts agree that family members and, in certain circumstances, close friends play a critical role in the recovery process. Thus, effective treatment should include a family therapy program.
Athens Addiction Recovery Center provides comprehensive, holistic, and flexible outpatient programs for students, professionals, and families. Call 844.959.4998 to learn more about family therapy and our other programs.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy provides a safe space for family members to address the impacts of addiction, mental health, and co-occurring disorders on their individual functioning and the family’s overall functioning, with the goal of working towards healing and recovery together.
In Athens Recovery’s family therapy program, a licensed family therapist works with each family member individually and in group sessions with multiple family members. The specific goals of family therapy vary depending on each family’s unique circumstances. However, common objectives often include:
- Improving communication
- Resolving conflict
- Fostering trust, empathy, and support to enhance relationships
- Identifying and changing dysfunctional patterns and dynamics
- Developing problem-solving skills
- Improving parenting skills
- Establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries
- Addressing specific problems or challenges impacting the family
- Supporting individual growth
- Building resilience and coping skills
Family therapy recognizes that each individual is an integral part of the family unit, and each member’s actions impact the family as a whole. Ultimately, the overarching goal of family therapy is to improve family members’ relational, psychological, and emotional well-being.
5 Activities for Family Therapy
Family therapy is dynamic, and activities can vary based on the therapist’s approach, the needs of the family, and the specific issue being addressed. That said, the following are five commonly used family therapy activities or techniques:
- Genogram creation – A genogram visually represents a family’s history and structure, including significant events, dynamics, and relationships. Creating a genogram helps family members and the therapist better understand family relationships and patterns.
- Family Sculpting – Family members are physically arranged in the room to represent their roles and dynamics within the family, providing insight into power dynamics and emotional connections.
- Communication skills training – The therapist uses communication exercises, such as “I” statements, active listening, or role-playing, to foster better communication skills.
- Narrative therapy techniques – The therapist uses techniques like re-authoring or externalizing the problem to explore the stories and narratives that families construct about lives and issues and create new, more constructive ones.
- Family meetings – The therapist guides structured sessions to promote open, effective communication in a safe space where family members can discuss issues, set goals, and make decisions.
Family therapy can be brief or long-term. The effectiveness of family therapy highly depends on the family member’s willingness to participate in activities and engage in the therapeutic process.
Fun Activities for Family Therapy
Family therapy is an excellent way to improve communication, resolve conflict, and strengthen bonds with the family. However, it can also be challenging and emotional, so incorporating fun and engaging activities can help make sessions more productive and enjoyable.
Ideas of fun activities for family therapy include the following:
- Family game night
- Art therapy
- Storytelling or family history sharing
- Adventure therapy
- Music therapy
- Creating a family cookbook
- Relaxation techniques
- Play therapy
Incorporating fun activities into the broader therapeutic plan helps foster better engagement and reminds families of their shared, healthy, loving bonds.
Call Athens Addiction Recovery Center Today
Having family support in addiction and mental health treatment has been shown to result in better outcomes. At Athens Recovery’s outpatient treatment center in Georgia, our family therapy program helps clients struggling with addiction and their loved ones develop the skills and tools necessary to break the cycle of dysfunction caused by addiction to improve overall well-being. Call 844.959.4998 or reach out online to learn more about how family therapy can benefit you and your loved ones.