Family Therapy and Its Role in Addiction Recovery

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People who are in recovery for addiction to alcohol or drugs concentrate a lot on the individual work of recovery. They learn to develop responsibility for their choices, both current and in the past, and focus on plans to stay sober. These individuals typically also spend time thinking about their families. Family therapy and recovery go together because this combination allows the person in recovery to incorporate their family into their recovery in a way that is healthy and productive for everyone.

Why Are Family Therapy and Recovery Important?

Family is important to everyone, especially during trying times and after something difficult has impacted the family unit. When a person struggles with a substance use disorder, it affects the entire family. When they begin recovery, while this positive event is to be celebrated, it does not negate everything that took place before it began. 

Family therapy can provide a roadmap that helps family members take a look at past events with fresh eyes. They also learn to deal with events that happen during their loved one’s recovery without leaping to conclusions or unfair judgment. 

Relearning How to Talk to Family Members

Family therapy helps everyone learn a new way to communicate with each other. The turmoil of being embroiled in addiction often throws up roadblocks that make talking to each other problematic for a family. Even when some relationships were healthy before the addiction took hold, they likely sustained damage along the way.

Combining family therapy and recovery allows people to learn new ways to talk and listen to each other. A trained family counselor can guide family members in sessions so they learn how to identify unhealthy communication patterns and replace them. 

Topics that may have felt forbidden to discuss when a loved one was actively drinking or using drugs can now be brought up. The therapist can help set the stage so that everyone feels comfortable taking time to express themselves. Once someone has said their piece, the therapist will confirm that the others have a clear understanding of what was said. This eliminates misheard comments and helps build bridges within the family.

Recovery Is Not a Race

A big advantage of family therapy and recovery work has to do with addressing a common but incorrect assumption about recovery itself. Many family members view a loved one entering treatment as equivalent to crossing the finish line in a race. They view it as the final step and believe the entire family can now relax because their loved one is out of danger. While going into treatment certainly qualifies as an enormous step, it should not be interpreted as the final one. 

To use a comparative example, a person may have been dealing with a physical ailment for a long period of time but in denial about it. Once they admit they need help and see a doctor for their medical problem, that does not mean it is now cured. The treatment itself can be drawn out over a long period of time and sometimes prove emotionally painful.

The same applies to recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is the reason for the familiar saying that admitting you have a problem constitutes the first step. Once an individual starts treatment, they have begun a new journey, not completed a marathon. 

Families who receive professional counseling with their loved ones learn to understand how to help and when to back off. They also can learn things like how to be more compassionate or how to resist the urge to be co-dependent. All of these lessons are tantamount to helping families understand they are witnessing their loved one’s new journey. While it is not a race, they can still cheer them on from the sidelines. 

Who Can Attend Family Therapy?

Family therapy generally serves anyone considered to be part of a family unit. Parents, siblings, and extended family members can all join the sessions. Children often benefit from family therapy, with the therapist taking into consideration the age of the child before determining how they fit into the dynamic. Younger children may need individual counseling, but in general, adolescents and adult children of individuals in recovery for addiction derive helpful input and ideas when engaging in family therapy.

Licensed counselors trained as marriage and family therapists can treat the person in recovery and their spouse or partner together. These romantic partners may also choose to participate in family therapy. It often proves helpful for family members to understand better how the partnership is fairing during recovery. As well, the couple can form a united front when it comes to their approach to issues within the family.  

A person in recovery who becomes interested in how family therapy and recovery work together can speak with the therapist ahead of time. Together they can make a decision about who to ask to attend sessions. Even if everyone in the immediate family does not consent to participate in family therapy, much progress can be made with the rest of the family. 

Addiction Treatment and Family Therapy in Los Angeles

Launch Centers offers world-class treatment for people suffering from the disease of addiction. We offer programs that address co-occurring mental health issues and help create and achieve educational goals. Our long-term programs involve the family to help everyone learn to come together and strengthen the family unit.

If you or someone you love is ready to embrace recovery and needs help, call Launch Centers now.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD

Psychiatrist

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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.

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