5 Reasons Why Family Therapy Helps Everyone

Thursday, June 14, 2018 | By Chris Clancy

family therapy

If you are a loved one of someone who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, then you are all-too-aware of just how devastating and debilitating this disease can be for both you and the person that is using. And, the rest of your family suffers a great deal as a result of the individual’s addiction, too.

The term “two sickies don’t make a wellie” is one that can often be heard in family therapy sessions around the country. Basically, it reiterates what some of us already know – that when one of our loved ones is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, that we, too, become “sick” as we attempt to manage our lives based on the actions of the user. We tend to, even if we do not intentionally mean to, enable our loved ones who are addicted by attempting to ignore the fact that they abuse drugs and/or alcohol, continue to provide them with shelter, either give them cash or use our own cash to pay for things like clothes and food, and so on. As we do these things, we prevent our loved ones from hitting rock bottom and stop ourselves from finding appropriate ways to manage our feelings and behaviors surrounding his or her addiction. This is merely just one example of how we, as the loved ones of an addict, find ourselves to be just as “sick”.

Unfortunately, it often times takes family therapy to point this out to us. We have been living life in survival mode while our loved one continues to use, and truly feel that we are doing the very best we can. Sadly, though, we tend to make the situation more pervasive and damaging to everyone involved. Family therapy is an excellent way to address issues like these in a setting where both the family and the addict can work together to develop a healthy way of functioning.

5 Reasons Why Family Therapy Can Help Everyone

In the therapeutic world, families are viewed as systems in which addiction becomes a symptom of chaos and discord within the family. When one member of the system is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, the rest of the system becomes negatively affected. This means that even though some members of the system are not struggling with a condition as painful as addiction, they are still engaging in unhealthy behaviors due to the presence of it in their lives. Through family therapy, however, we as family members and addicts can unravel how our systems are functioning and begin to benefit from the help provided to us.

family therapy

  • Improving communication

It is not uncommon for families to struggle with communication when addiction is present. In many cases, communication is non-existent, strained, or fueled with anger and sadness. Family therapy can help everyone in the system begin communicating in a manner that promotes healing. Having a therapist working as a “moderator”, the family can begin learning what approaches, tones, and techniques to utilize when speaking to one another so that everyone feels respected. To start, one of the most effective ways to communicate with family members when emotions are high can include using the phrase, “when you (fill in the blank), I feel (fill in the blank)”. For example, “when you abuse drugs, I feel scared”.

  • Rebuilding trust

Once trust is broken, it can be extremely complicated to rebuild. In some cases, it cannot be restored. However, when members of a family engage in family therapy, they can begin openly and honestly sharing feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a transparent manner that promotes trust amongst one another. Family therapy can help provide the tools to help re-establish trust, however it often takes time, patience, and the utilization of these tools to restore trust.

  • Setting boundaries

When a member of the family is abusing drugs and/or alcohol, boundaries can become extremely blurred. In fact, boundaries might not even exist within the family system, depending on how affected everyone is by the addiction. Family therapy can fix that by talking with each member of the family and asking what he or she thinks are comfortable and acceptable boundaries for him or her. Setting these boundaries, as well as informing other members of them, can help preserve respect and personal wellbeing.

  • Developing self-care

Addiction can easily cause everyone who is affected by it to lose their ability to put themselves first. Instead of focusing on oneself, family members tend to put their needs aside just to keep their loved one who is addicted afloat. This is extremely dangerous, as it typically just perpetuates the problems that are already occurring within the family. When receiving family therapy, however, each family member can learn how to practice good self-care. Whether it is taking time each night to read for pleasure, getting involved in an activity, or simply putting oneself in positive situations only, self-care can help everyone in the family strive to be happy and healthy.

  • Learning about the family

While it sounds slightly ridiculous to say that family therapy can help you learn about the family you have been in your whole life, it is absolutely true that it can do just that. When someone else, like a therapist, can adopt an outsider’s view of how your family interacts with one another, he or she can help you shed light on the causes and effects of everyone’s actions within the system. Once you know better, you can do better, meaning that if you are aware that when you jump to conclusions, you cause frustration within your family, then you can prevent that action for the betterment of yourself and your loved ones.

These are simply just a few of the many ways in which family therapy can help everyone. The majority of treatment centers throughout the country offer regular family therapy sessions, while others offer either a weekend or a full week of family therapy.

If your loved one is in treatment and family therapy is available for you and yours, making the effort to participate can be extremely beneficial in not only your loved one’s recovery, but yours, too.

Getting Help Today

It is certainly not easy to live in a family unit when one of the members is struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction. In fact, it can be one of the most challenging times of you and your loved ones’ lives. Thankfully, there are a plethora of treatment options available to not only address the issues that the addict in your family is dealing with, but also the issues that you and the rest of the family are experiencing.

If you and your loved ones need help, please do not wait any longer. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve.

Get the Help You Deserve.

Accepting Same-Day Admission With Additional Pre-Screening


Stay Up To Date

  • I Think I’m Addicted to Prescription Meds – Am I an Addict?

    “It’s been prescribed to me, so it isn’t dangerous.”   This is one of the greatest myths surrounding prescription painkillers. When you think of substance abuse, you probably think of street drugs. But did you know prescription medicatio

  • 5 Stress Relief Tools for Recovering Addicts

    Family problems, traffic jams and looming deadlines. Everybody has experienced stress at some point, but for individuals suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, stress can be destructive. Stress overload – or an inability

  • common fears of going to rehab

    10 Common Fears of Rehab and How to Overcome Them

    Making the decision to enter a treatment facility to get help with an addiction is certainly not easy. There are many common fears of entering rehab that come up when contemplating this decision. The good news is, you’re not alone in feeling this w

  • parent enabling daughter

    How to Stop Enabling an Addict

    Addiction is a tough disease — both for the person with the problem, as well as their friends and families, who may feel helpless in their ability to keep a loved one out of harm’s way. Though addictions only affect the addict themselves on a phy

  • Staying Motivated in Recovery

    Staying Motivated in Recovery

    Addiction is a deadly disease that can sneak up on you when you least expect it. One minute you think you have your life under control and the next minute you realize you are lying to everyone, including yourself. You have difficulty managing your wo

  • 12-Step Meetings: What to Expect

    If you’ve just completed a treatment program and are looking to get connected to people in recovery or if you’d like to stop drinking or using drugs and are looking for some support, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonym

  • Michaela’s Story: Road to Recovery

    It is estimated more than two-thirds of people that struggle with addiction have experienced some type of childhood trauma. For Michaela S., it was a family tragedy. She was just 9-years-old when she lost her brother in an ATV accident. He was only a

  • Sober Fall Activities Near Bowling Green

    Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather and head out for some festive family activities. A major contributor in long-term recovery and preventing relapse is steering clear of triggers. The best way to do that is to change you

  • A Guide to 12-Step Meetings

    As part of your continuing care plan, it will be recommended you attend regular 12-step meetings for support and encouragement. Understanding the founding principles and the general meeting guidelines can help ease some fears and anxiety you might be

  • Finding Hope through Family Therapy

    At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we feel very strongly that family involvement throughout one’s addiction treatment is essential for long-term recovery. Organizations including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and U.S. Department of Health and Hum

  • The Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky

    Known as “The Bluegrass State,” Kentucky is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby, is notorious for its bourbon, coal mines and even fried chicken. What it’s lesser known is the devastating effect heroin is having on families. There is a hero

  • songwriting therapy

    Songwriting Therapy Heals Patients in Recovery

    For many, especially those undergoing treatment for addiction and mental health issues, it can be difficult to express feelings verbally. Addiction is rarely the only struggle one’s facing when they enter treatment; it’s often coupled with some t



  • Everyone who works here is very kind and helpful. They really want what is best for you. The housing is super nice and comfortable. I am very pleased with the time I spent here.



  • JourneyPure Bowling Green has changed my life this is the first time I have ever been to a Rehabilitation Center and while it was not at all what I expected, it was exactly what I needed.



  • Great place. I learned much here about my addiction and I feel that I now have the tools to control it. They have great a great staff and the accommodations are top notch.

    Terry F


  • My family member is still sober a year and a half after his treatment stay here.



  • This place was GREAT! I feel like they helped me with much more than I expected.

    Tim M


  • I loved my time here and I learned a lot about my recovery. All the staff were great and really helped me in the areas that I needed help in.

    Caleb H


  • The people here are very nice and will do whatever it takes to help you out, they are very helpful, its a great place to start off your sobriety



  • I have enjoyed my stay and feel very confident in my recovery. Everyone here has been wonderful and very helpful. I would recommend Journey Pure to anyone seeking recovery.