Families with loved ones who suffer from serious mental health concerns, trauma, or substance abuse suffer alongside them. Without proper education and the intermediary support of a trained therapist, it may be difficult for family members to accept their loved one and understand what they’re truly dealing with. Some families may feel hesitant to get involved with their loved one’s treatment, but family support has been shown to not only increase treatment satisfaction, but the client’s treatment participation and overall family flexibility and satisfaction are also improved.
Whatever is going on for a client seeking treatment isn’t just a client issue, it’s a family system issue, and family involvement through group therapy sessions can help to remedy that. Getting to the root of a family’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses helps to guide families to address problems that contribute to the client’s behaviors and harmful coping mechanisms.
Understanding Casa Recovery’s Approach
At Casa Recovery, our opinion is that the more a family is involved, the better the outcome for the client. We understand that not every client will have a family who is willing to participate, nor will it be safe for every client to involve their families; however, when it’s possible to repair those relationships without jeopardizing the client, we want to help initiate that. We also understand that not all families are blood-related, and that’s why we encourage whatever strong relationships that can offer support to be involved in a client’s treatment, including close friends if that’s what clients consider family.
Part of the purpose of family involvement is to build a supportive network around the client that will help them to be successful in managing their symptoms outside of treatment. If a client wishes to involve their young children, or anyone they perceive to be in need of clarity and support and who may also need to learn skills that will support the client, they should be involved in the program, as well.
Our Family Program
Involving families in treatment helps them not to feel alone, but it’s not just for the client that families participate. At Casa Recovery, our family program is meant to not only educate the client and their family members, but to help the family resolve issues that may contribute to the client’s harmful behaviors. Family problems can be incredibly complex, and families with members who have serious mental illness or substance abuse problems also need support to deal with their trauma, hurt, and confusion.
Our Family Program Includes:
- Ongoing Family Communication and Coaching
- Weekly Clinical Updates on Client’s Treatment Progress
- Weekly Family Therapy Session with Primary Therapist (Virtual & In Person)
- Monthly Education and Support Group (Virtual & In Person)
Our stance is non-judgmental, compassionate, and focused on positive communication among family members. We want to fill in the gaps about the client’s struggles and their behaviors and teach every member of the support network their own coping skills for the emotional burden they share while also giving them techniques to support the client outside of treatment.
When a client begins their treatment with us, the first thing we do is establish who is supporting them, be it immediate family, distant family, or close friends. We first reach out to these support networks within the first few days of a client’s treatment. Depending on the needs, a client’s family may not be involved until closer to graduation, or a family may never be involved, but our hope is always for more family involvement, not less.
How much we communicate with family members will depend on what their loved one needs while in treatment. And how much a client communicates with a family member will depend on their needs as they build their foundation in recovery. It could be anywhere from once a week to once a month, or for some who are struggling to hold a family together, they may undergo treatment alone for the first few months before we bring in their support system.
Weekly communication with family members could look like clinical updates on the progress of how their loved one is doing in treatment. These updates could also be a time for education and support or to remind the parents to hold firm on boundaries or to use their own coping strategies learned.
At Casa, we bring families together, in-person or over video call, to have a group session with the client’s therapist. Currently, this brings families together once a month for about two hours.
Coming soon, however, Casa Recovery will be implementing a much more extensive program that hopes to bring families together every week rather than once a month.
While our new program is in development, families will continue to meet on our once a month model. Family therapy involves several clinically-proven approaches to bettering family satisfaction and improving a client’s odds of success outside of treatment. These techniques involve family education and family support.
Family Education & Support
Our family education and support group currently meet together once a month for about two hours. One of the primary goals of education is to help the family understand that the client’s maladaptive behaviors aren’t done intentionally to hurt them. Especially when a client has turned to drug and alcohol abuse to cope with their mental health issues, they aren’t making a conscious choice to continue abusing substances.
Separating these behaviors from the client and reframing their behavior as unintentional helps the family to understand it can be treated with the proper psychological and psychiatric interventions and support.
While the client’s behaviors may not be intentional, that doesn’t mean they aren’t hurtful. Giving the family clarity about the client’s actions is the first step toward creating acceptance in the support network for the client. Creating a healing space together provides everyone with an optimistic view of the future.
Why is it important that I do “Family Work” while my loved one is in treatment?
At Casa Recovery, we understand that mental health symptoms can be influenced by family dynamics. Therefore, we provide services for our clients’ families to educate and facilitate communication regarding mental health and addiction treatment. To aid in your loved one’s healing, it is best for you to undergo family work to facilitate long-term improvement and recovery of your loved one’s symptoms.
Can I talk to my loved one while they are in treatment?
Talking to loved ones is encouraged during their treatment journey as long as it is clinically effective and the words are helpful to your loved one’s healing. As part of our family program at Casa Recovery, you will learn how to effectively communicate to facilitate healing and healthy connections with your loved ones. You can use these skills when talking to your loved one in treatment.
Should family members attend support groups? Is there more than Al-Anon?
Casa Recovery encourages family members to attend support groups during and after their loved one is in treatment. Support groups are integral to sustained support for those in recovery, and there are many to choose from apart from Al-Anon including CRAFT for families that have a loved one struggling with substance abuse and NAMI for families who have a loved one with a mental illness. The clinical team at Casa Recovery can assist you in finding the best groups that fit your needs.