Importance of Family in Treatment

“Every person belongs to something. We didn’t grow up like little mushrooms in the dark… They find support in some people they met along the way. And that becomes the family” (Drake, 2014).

Most interventions focus solely on the identified client whether it is an addiction or mental health issue. After treatment, the client becomes sober or mentally healthier and goes back home. It looks simple enough, as clinicians create a discharge plan for the client. But it misses the big point, the client is one piece of a larger system. Every client we work with is related to someone or some community somewhere.  Intervening to help the client change without changing where he/she will go back is one piece of the pie. To create change that would last will require a bigger bite of the pie.

Systems Theory explains human behavior as the intersection of the influences of multiple interrelated systems (Forder, 1976). If we look at the client problem being the problem behavior, it was influenced by those around him or her. Since it takes a lot of legislation to change communities, we can look at a smaller unit: the family.

Family involvement in treatment is crucial to lasting recovery, not just to create the awareness for the family to understand the “underlying issues” behind the problem; but to also be part of the solution. The influence exerted by the family on the individual in the form of support could easily become enabling behaviors. And if a biological family or family by marriage is not available, we have to look at the friends or support system that the client sees as their “family.”

- Melinda Drake, LCSW (CA, NY & HI), LISW CP & AP (SC)

 

Resources:

Drake, M. (2014). Addiction Professional, Family Dynamics in Addiction Treatment - Orange, Calif. Retrieved from  https://www.addictionpro.com/page/family-dynamics-addiction-treatment-orange-calif-0

Forder, A. (1976). Social Work and System Theory. The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 6, Issue 1, 1 January 1976, Pages 23–42.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Finding Peace and Purpose in Early Recovery

Yoga, meditation, and volunteerism are all ways to bring peace and purpose into your life. Learn how these and other strategies can help you thrive in the early days of your recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Benefits of Outpatient Detox

If you’re resisting inpatient treatment for substance abuse because of your personal responsibilities or privacy concerns, you may be a candidate for outpatient detox. Learn how an outpatient detox program can get you started on the road to recovery.

The Role of Nutrition in Recovery

A key ingredient in a successful recovery is a healthy, well-balanced diet plan. Learn how substance abuse affects your health and what changes you need to make in your diet to prevent relapse.

The Connection Between Unresolved Trauma and Addiction

A history of emotional abuse, physical violence, or another trauma can shape your brain and make you more susceptible to addiction. Learn how trauma influences your brain and may increase your risk for self-medicating and other risky behaviors.