Is Family Therapy Available in All Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs?

Detox is arguably the most important aspect of ending one’s relationship with drugs or alcohol; however, there is much more involved when it comes to achieving long-term sobriety. And for this reason, many rehab facilities will offer family therapy as a way to address many of the factors that may have contributed to individuals deciding to abuse these substances in the first place. These family therapy sessions, which are offered by most rehab facilities across America, are designed to strengthen family ties, improve communication between family members, and heal old traumas, all of which can go a long way toward helping the individual user and the entire family recover together.


Most mental health experts will agree that the actions of one family member will eventually impact other family members. And this is especially true when it comes to addiction and recovery. Just like an unhealthy family can lead some people to start abusing drugs or alcohol, a healthy family can have the opposite effect by motivating them to get clean. That said, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach when it comes to family therapy. As such, the therapist will have carefully evaluate all of the factors that may have influenced an individual’s decision to start abusing drugs or alcohol, such as conflicts with their family, financial problems, infidelity, mental health disorders, and even outside triggers, before deciding on a specific form of therapy. The most common types of family therapy include the following:

Family disease model – This form of family therapy is one that recognizes addiction as being a disease that affects the entire family. As such, most therapists will look for patterns of codependence among family members that may be contributing to their loved one continuing to abuse drugs or alcohol. In many cases, these family members may not even be aware that their actions are encouraging such negative behaviors. Once the family is aware of their actions, they can then make changes that will help their loved one achieve sobriety.

Family systems model – This form of family therapy is one that recognizes the adaptive nature of a family when a loved one develops a substance abuse problem. In short, some family members believe that their loved one is easier to interact with when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And for this reason, they may be less likely to encourage them to seek help. A highly skilled family therapist will be able to point out how this pattern of flawed thinking only serves to make matters worse.

Cognitive behavioral therapy – This approach to therapy points out how maladaptive behaviors on the part of the user’s family may be contributing to their ongoing substance abuse problem. Most therapists will use cognitive behavioral therapy as a way to identify the cause of these behaviors, which, in turn, helps improve communication between family members and how they interact with one another.

Brief strategic family therapy – TThis form of family therapy is generally aimed at adolescents and takes a hard look at the role that their family plays in their decision to abuse drugs or alcohol. During brief strategic family therapy, a therapist will observe how users and their families interact with each other before making recommendations on how to change what they have identified as negative behaviors. For most adolescents, this approach to family therapy is more than enough to get them to quit using.


Although there may be a few moments of awkward silence and even some feelings of resentment, family therapy can go a long way toward helping families improve how they communicate with one another. Even more than that, family therapy can help families form closer bonds, develop better problem-solving skills, and confront the underlying issues that are responsible for substance abuse. To learn more about how family therapy can aid in your recovery or for help finding a facility that offers the type of family therapy sessions detailed in this article, consider speaking with one of our associates today at 833-762-3739.