When it comes to treating substance abuse and mental health in teens, it’s important to ensure the family is included in the treatment program. Incorporating the family, at the right time, is paramount to long-term recovery.
What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy can take place in many ways. Some family therapy sessions will include the teen and their family members in at the same, while others will involve only the family members. According to NCBI, there are many different approaches that can be used during family therapy sessions:
- Family Systems model
- Family Disease model
These techniques address the interdependent, interconnected nature of the families, and assume the actions of any member affect the internal dynamics of whole. Likewise, the behaviors of the family as a whole affect the individual family members involved. This is also known as the holistic view of family dynamics.
Steps to Take
If a teenager in your family exhibits signs of substance abuse, addiction, mental illness, or behavioral issues, it’s normal to feel confused and unsure of how to handle the situation. For the recovery and healing of all involved, the first step is to consult a qualified mental health professional with experience in adolescent issues and family therapy. This may mean an individual therapist or a larger treatment program. Both will conduct a thorough interview and/or assessment to help determine the appropriate course of action. If a mental health professional recommends therapy or rehab, they may encourage or even require the participation of the entire family as part of the overall treatment plan.
Therapy can help you learn how to cope with the consequences of substance abuse, addiction, mental health, or behavioral disorders, while providing your family and your teen with the support and steps necessary to achieve recovery. Each family therapy session will likely involve setting goals and creating plans to achieve them. Everyone involved will have individual goals to achieve.
Common Family Therapy Goals/Plans May Include:
- Not providing money to the teen struggling with addiction or substance abuse issues
- Creating and following through with consequences of continued substance abuse
- Learning to identify and eliminate enabling family behaviors.
Making It Work
Treatment plans need to be flexible so family members can actively participate. A good therapist will implement several modes of practices during family therapy sessions. For example, while primary goals are typically centered on the teen struggling with the issues causing problems, goals including the entire family must be implemented to ensure successful recovery. A sustainable plan addresses the big picture and enlists the contribution all relevant parties, including parents, siblings, teachers, and extended family members. Anyone who plays a significant role in the life of your teenager should become part of the treatment team. Well-designed individual and family goals synergize to improve the overall health of your family and maximize the long-term recovery and wellness of your loved one.
It’s never too late to take the first step.
When you’re ready, give us a call: we can help.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.