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Family Therapy


Drug addiction is a serious medical condition that can be treated in many ways. Rehabilitation programs can be divided into pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy elements, with medications used to promote abstinence and behavioral therapies administered to change problematic behavior. Common behavioral modalities include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational therapy, relapse prevention and family therapy. Family therapy treatment is available across the state of Iowa, with programs available from commercial drug treatment centers and non-profit organizations. If you or anyone you know needs to access family therapy or any kind of drug treatment, it’s important to talk to an accredited treatment center as soon as possible.

What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is known by many names, including couples therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling. There are two main types of family therapy, programs that involve entire family groups and programs that work through family issues with a single person. Having access to healthy and stable family relationships is very important to the recovery process, with people much less likely to relapse when they have access to family support. While traditional family programs dealt exclusively with blood family relationships, some new programs also work with close friendship and community groups. Family therapy is available throughout the state of Iowa, both in residential and outpatient rehab and on an aftercare basis.

What is Codependence?

In order to comprehend the power of family therapy, it’s important to understand the issue of co-dependency and how it influences the drug treatment process. Codependent relationships involve a drug affected individual and a codependent family member, with the partners and parents of drug addicts often fulfilling this role. While codependent people believe they are helping the addict by lending them money and lying for them, they are often promoting an unhealthy relationship by enabling addictive behavior.

Recognizing and treating codependency is an important part of family therapy systems, with professional therapists needed to evaluate family dynamics and put relationships back on track. Common symptoms of a codependent relationship include unstable and intense relationships, feelings of sadness and emptiness, denial, dishonesty and being unable to spend time alone.  People with mental health problems are particularly susceptible to codependency, including people with personality disorders and impulse disorders.

The Benefits of Family Therapy

Behavioral therapy programs attempt to treat drug addiction by altering problematic behavioral responses. By recognizing and treating cognitive and emotional distortions, therapists help patients to be mindful of the thoughts and feelings that lead to compulsive behavior. Family therapy is an important part of this process, with patterns of problematic behavior often rooted in unhealthy family dynamics. People with access to family therapy are more likely to recognize triggers, more willing to learn new coping skills, and less likely to relapse following treatment. Healthy family relationships can be a great source of support and inspiration, with family members also able to provide practical support including accommodation and transport.

Family Therapy during Aftercare

Family therapy can be carried out any stage of the treatment process, from the early days of crisis intervention and detox to the later stages of aftercare. Aftercare programs include all treatments that carried out after detox and rehab, including sober living communities, relapse prevention programs, 12-step support groups, SMART Recovery sessions and much more. While detox helps people to stop using drugs and rehab addresses the factors underlying addiction, aftercare measures are always recommended to promote long-term recovery.