Individual therapy is focused on one person’s thoughts, behavior, and emotions. Family therapy, however, focuses more on relationships and seeks to validate and understand the experiences of all members of the family. Family therapy center San Diego aims to clarify all relationships and foster closeness and repair if members wish. Family therapists believe problems exist among people and within people.
A family therapist will work with the family to explore how substance abuse is interwoven into the family’s interaction. Many parents and young adults are caught up in a “fugitive/detective” dynamic. A parent can be a detective, spying on and chasing a young adult, or hide, lie, more often than the young adult. Family therapists can provide education and support for family members about substance abuse and help them reduce their harmful behaviors and increase their effectiveness.
We have identified four key components of family therapy models in our work at Genesis Recovery.
Family Engagement is the first element. It is important to increase family involvement and invest in therapy for young adult who is struggling.
A therapist might say something like this to a parent who is reluctant to go to therapy. It won’t be easy but I will push you to listen to her view. You might not always agree with me. I will help her to bring it to you and help you to hear her.
Family engagement interventions are usually done during the initial phase. However, investment and goal setting are constantly revisited during family therapy.
The second element Relational Framing consists of interventions that aim to move beyond individual ways of defining problems or generating solutions and instead focus on relationships. These interventions aim to eliminate irrational descriptions of family members’ behavior and to focus instead on understanding their motivations based on these relationships.
A family therapist might want to change the description of a parent from someone critical and judgmental to someone who is just worried. For example, she may say, “I believe that when you yell at your daughter about her late return, you are actually concerned about her safety and wellbeing, and not just being angry with her.”
Changes In Family Behavior
The third core element Family behavior change aims to improve the family’s behavior. These interventions are designed to help individuals and families learn new skills and make positive changes in their behavior that will lead to better family relationships. Individuals and families are encouraged to develop new skills and habits.
A family therapist could teach family members new communication skills such as assertive communication, negotiation of boundaries and rules, and expressing emotions more effectively.
Restructuring A Family
The fourth element, Family Reform, is designed to transform the way that the family system operates. It aims to shift the underlying beliefs and premises as well as the family rules.
One example is that if someone is feeling upset, they won’t discuss it with anyone and instead, are expected to deal with it themselves. Family therapists might be able to help families recognize this concept and introduce new beliefs about how important it is for them to talk about their difficult feelings. Family therapists may be able to help parents identify common ways they can interact with their children.
Family members need to learn about the dynamics in their families and the connections between them and the problem behavior. This can lead to changes in the emotional and attachment processes among family members.