This is a sponsored guest post.
Family is often a necessary part of addiction treatment and recovery for families. However, that does not mean that attending your first family therapy session isn’t nerve wracking. Having an idea of what to expect can at least make you feel a little bit better about the situation though. Here is what to expect from family therapy.
- It Can be an Extensive Process
Like drug rehab and addiction recovery, thorough family therapy is often an extensive process. It is important to remember that working on mental health takes a while normally, and it is a process that cannot be rushed. When you are doing this with multiple people and are working on strengthening multiple relationships this can take even longer. This is completely normal, and going through this process might even be more beneficial than you may have originally thought. Taking your time just means that your family therapy has been more thorough and successful.
- Expect Total Honesty
In order for family therapy to be successful there needs to be complete honesty from all of those involved. Although this can feel daunting, being honest and allowing others to be honest with you will make your therapy more successful. This is because it really allows for all family issues and individual’s concerns to be addressed and worked on. Holding things back will just leave problems as they are, and the whole point of family therapy is to improve on all of these issues. Honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to therapy.
- You Will Likely Need To Work on Communication and Conflict Resolution
Poor communication and conflict resolution are some of the most common problems found in dysfunctional families. Therefore, you will likely be learning tools that improve these types of problems. Improving on communication and conflict resolution is difficult to do on your own, so oftentimes family therapy is needed to really work on these things successfully. However, family therapy is highly individualized, and you may be working on other relationship issues as well.
- You Will be Creating a Plan
Like the plan you make when going through an alcohol or drug detox, you will be creating a plan for using the tools that you learned in family therapy at home. This plan will be set up by your therapist with clear steps and/or objectives for you and your family to follow. Family therapy also doesn’t last forever. Therefore, you will also likely be creating a long term plan for yourselves when family therapy is no longer necessary.
- There Will be a Focus on the Child(ren)’s Mental Health
This does not mean that the mental health of a parent, or parents, is not important. In fact, the mental health of the adults in the family greatly affects children. However, children are often affected extensively by addiction in a close family member. For this reason the mental health of the children and teenagers in the family will likely be one of the main focuses in family therapy.
- You Will Have Homework
Similar to you creating a plan during family therapy, you will definitely have homework to do after your family therapy session is over. This will get you used to practicing the things that you have learned in therapy. It also slowly prepares you for life after family therapy, because, as mentioned before, family therapy does not last forever.
- You Will Likely Have a Lot of Emotions
Family therapy can be very emotional for all family members involved. Although this can be difficult to deal with at the time, going through these emotions during therapy really does mean that progress is being made. It is important to remember that experiencing these emotions is completely healthy and natural. Reminding your family members of this encourages honesty and acknowledges their thoughts and feelings as well, which makes even more progress in family therapy.
- Your Family Will be Stronger
It is important that through this long and emotional process you remember that family therapy will make your family relationships stronger. Having the end goal of progress in mind will make this hard work feel more meaningful and your small improvements seem more important.
Family therapy can be a bit of a daunting process. However, it is often necessary for the families affected by alcohol or drug addiction. Knowing what to expect can make your first family therapy session feel less scary though. When it comes to family therapy you can expect a lengthy and emotional process that involves creating a plan and having homework to work on the things you learned outside of therapy. You will likely focus on improving the mental health of the children in the family along with communication and conflict resolution skills. It’s important to remember that for family therapy to work everyone needs to be completely honest at all times. This can be sometimes hard to deal with, but your family will be so much stronger as a result.