How to Broach the Subject of Family Counseling

Jul 06, 2009 No Comments by

Family therapy truly does work in recovery. In fact, a State University of New York study showed that family therapy greatly increased likelihood of successful recovery in alcohol dependent individuals. Statistics show that families who receive counseling will be less likely to experience guilt, confusion or difficulties adjusting to changes after recovery. Inviting your family to join you for counseling sessions can be a pivotal step in your recovery, and even bring you closer together in the process.

Tips for Broaching the Subject of Family Counseling

Here are a few tips for broaching the subject of family counseling with your loved ones.

  • Show them you care.
    The idea of therapy can be threatening for some families, who may assume the request for counseling indicates blame or judgments of dysfunction. Reassure your family by telling them how much they mean to you. Let them know that they are an integral part of your recovery process and that their input matters to you.
  • Lead by example.
    Take responsibility for your actions, past and present. If your family hesitates to join you in counseling, begin individual therapy on your own. When you demonstrate your commitment to change and let them witness the results in your life, they’ll be more apt to want to take part.
  • Take time for a personal discussion.
    Each person involved in family therapy will need to decide whether or not to participate. Many family members will be honored to be approached themselves, instead of receiving a family mandate. Consider approaching each family member individually, allowing for one-on-one connections and conversations.
  • Set a duration for family therapy.
    The notion of therapy sometimes overwhelms people who see no tangible end in sight. If your treatment program offers a set number of sessions, let your family know. If your family is hesitant, suggest a trial run of a session or two with no strings attached.
  • Consider alternatives to traditional family therapy.
    While the most effective family counseling will often come from professionals at a chemical dependency treatment center, be open to alternate routes of therapy after recovery. Your family may be more amenable to faith-based counseling by a pastor or priest, or multi-family therapy conducted in a lower-key group setting. Ask your family which alternatives they would be comfortable with and open to.
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