Addiction not only has devastating effects on the individual misusing drugs and alcohol, it typically also works havoc upon the family dynamic. Family therapy and systems theory—conceived by psychiatrist Murray Bowen in the 1950’s—is about looking at how families operate as a system and how diseases such as addiction can interrupt that system.

Like all systems, families strive for balance. Usually this means avoiding conflict, hostility, aggression, or other things that lead to disharmony and strife. But active addiction constitutes a serial crisis for the family and tends to destroy all natural and caring inclinations, putting the family into survival mode instead.

If the whole system is affected, it follows that treatment has a much greater chance of success if the family is directly involved in the healing process and partakes in family therapy. Different variations of family therapy exist but most share the belief that, regardless of the origin of the problem, and regardless of whether the clients consider it an individual or family issue, involving families in solutions benefits clients.

Recovery from addiction requires family therapy that evaluates the family system in its entirety. This evaluation aims to uncover specific hidden forces that perpetuate dysfunction. Once they are identified, family members work together to foster a more functional family system that does not promote addiction. After helping the family understand the source of the dysfunction, the therapist hopes to direct the conversation in a way that unlocks the latent strengths, wisdom, and mutual support of the family system.

At Encore, we completely customize treatment to meet your family’s specific needs and goals, implementing a host of evidenced-based therapies as appropriate.