Family programs at treatment centers are very useful and important, usually used when the patient is close to the end of his stay at a treatment center. Addiction is a family disease as the lives of each and every member of the family are affected. Family systems become strained or broken, but mendable. Patients who have been in treatment for at least a few weeks often will have more clarity and ability to both communicate and comprehend others. While in the midst of their disease true communication is not usually possible. It is therefore a very useful time to stage sessions in which the whole family participates in a safe environment with therapists to mediate any potential outbreaks of arguments.
Family programs at treatment centers can be done in various ways. A weekly session is sometime employed. This allows continuing updates on progress of the patient and creates momentum for the family to build upon post-treatment. Often a four to five day workshop is used where the whole time is devoted to sessions with family members. This is often a preferable alternative to weekly sessions as geography can become a factor for some families.
An important part of family program is for the family to learn more about addiction and what comes with it. They come to understand that addiction is in fact a disease and it is not the addicts fault for getting it. Families learn tools in how to cope with what has happened and how to support their loved one in the future.
Trust is almost always something that needs to be built up again through a family program. Addictive behavior is often characterized by reckless self-destructive behavior. Family program gives the patient a chance to make amends and apologize for their actions. Trust is a hard thing to re-gain and takes time to rebuild. Family programs are a good stepping stone to the beginning of a new period in a family’s life. During family programs often the addict and their family will both make commitments to each other to change their behaviors. Sticking to these post-treatment starts to build trust at a base level.
Resentments are another key issue handled during family programs at treatment centers. Often resentments are held on both sides due to either the addictive behaviors or other family issues often found in households with addiction problems. A lot of addicts start using due to depression or anxiety disorders which can sometimes be linked to troubled childhood memories. For a family to progress and become stronger as a unit these resentments must be communicated and cleared.
Family programs also help families with their communication skills. Often households do not effectively communicate with one another which can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Better communication skills create a better setting for a healthier family system. Communication allows each member to say what they want in life and what they want from other members. This communication usually results in family members helping each other to achieve shared goals.
Appreciations are often included in list-work set at family programs. This is when, alongside resentments, each member also writes down what they appreciate in one another. Hearing resentments by themselves can feel almost like a personal attack which is not the aim at all. By including appreciations it helps to strengthen bonds between family members faster.
Family programs can be found at the majority of in-patient rehab facilities and are highly recommended to make the most of as they are a rare opportunity for the family system to begin to heal in a safe environment. Recovery for an addict is much easier when the continuous support and love of a family is felt.