Family Therapy

Embark on a journey of healing not only for yourself but also for your relationships through family therapy for addiction. Reach out to Harmony Ridge Recovery Center and take the first step toward rebuilding and strengthening the bonds that matter most to you.


Addiction doesn’t just affect you; it also affects everyone around you, particularly those you are close to. At a certain point, you will start prioritizing substances over them, lying to them about your condition, and maybe even stealing from them to be able to afford your habit. Learning about this can be devastating for your loved ones. But the harm addiction inflicts upon your relationships doesn’t have to be irreparable. The top drug and alcohol treatment centers in West Virginia offer family therapy for addiction that can mend the hurt and improve the relations between you and your loved ones. So when you’re ready to take that step, contact Harmony Ridge Recovery Center to start the treatment – we will help you and your family work through your issues and learn to trust each other again!

Family therapy is a way to heal familial relationships affected by addiction


Whenever you and your family are going through difficult times, whether this involves grief, anger, or stress, you can benefit from family therapy. While individual therapy can help you understand how your problems affect you personally and group therapy connects you with others who are suffering similar problems, family therapy focuses on interpersonal relationships among family members. As such, it can be extremely helpful when one of the family members is in substance abuse treatment WV. It’s an effective way for a family to face the aftermath of addiction by dealing with broken relationships, rebuilding support systems, and learning how to cope with mental illness as a unit.

What does family therapy at a rehab center look like?

Therapy is the backbone of any addiction treatment program. It is typically organized as:

  • group therapy for addiction accounting for the majority of the sessions where addiction-related topics are discussed in a group setting with a therapist
  • individual therapy for addiction once or twice a week (sometimes more, depending on the program and the diagnosis), where individuals work one-on-one with a therapist to dig deeper into topics of personal concern

Family therapy for addiction is a special kind of group therapy where only family members are involved. The group thus consists of the therapist leading the session, the person abusing substances, and their family members. The therapist is there to help you navigate conflicts and challenges as a team.

Couple in therapy.
During therapy sessions with your family, your therapist will help you work on your relationships with each other.

This mode of therapy is based on the idea that all families share a connection. Addiction, then, affects your family members as much as it affects you. Therefore, treatment should extend to your family members as well. A healthy relationship with family can play a major role in recovery, which is why all rehab participants and their family members are encouraged to participate.

What is the goal of family therapy in rehab?

Although family therapy is effective for many types of problems, it’s especially helpful for treating addiction. If you have an issue with substance use, it can strain the bonds you have with your family members. Family therapy for addiction can help you repair ties with your loved ones. But it’s not all about you making amends: it can also help them understand your problem. Your therapist will teach you and your family how to cope with addiction in the family together.

Whereas individual therapy focuses on issues affecting only you, family therapy focuses on how addiction has affected your relationships. Those who practice family therapy believe that problems occur between people rather than within people. So one of the goals of this mode of therapy is to address interpersonal problems.

For example, your therapist might identify a fugitive/detective dynamic, which is common in many families. The fugitive is typically a young adult who is lying or hiding things; the detective might be a parent or guardian who is trying to figure them out. Your therapist will explain these roles and how they have affected your family as a whole.

A group of people on a Zoom call.
Therapy will improve communication among family members.

In addition to helping deal with addiction, family therapy is also beneficial in the cases of:

  • mental illness in a family member
  • problems in school
  • arguments about money
  • divorce or separation
  • issues with a child’s behavior
  • caring for a disabled family member
  • the general conflict between family members

The main goal of family therapy for addiction, however, is not to put the blame for the consequences of addiction on any one person. Instead, it is possible to validate your family’s experiences of addiction without alienating or hurting you and vice versa. You should be working together to resolve conflict, not fighting against each other.

How does family therapy for addiction work?

Family therapy for addiction is typically short-term, lasting for about 12 sessions. How many sessions you need, though, will depend on the seriousness of the addiction and your family’s situation. During family therapy sessions, you will:

  1. explore different behavior patterns, family roles, and rules to pinpoint problems that could’ve led to family conflict and addiction
  2. recognize each family member’s weaknesses and strengths in interpersonal relations
  3. work on the issues that have arisen due to addiction
  4. teach your family members how to help in the recovery process
  5. improve your family’s ability to communicate emotions and thoughts and solve problems productively

Depending on what your family responds to, your therapist may take different therapeutic approaches in family therapy sessions. However, the two main methods are the ones you will be familiar with from group and individual therapy:

  • dialectical behavior therapy for addiction (or talk therapy), which uses guided discussion to identify problem behaviors, motivate participants to change, and give them the confidence to do so
  • CBT treatment plan for addiction, which aims to identify disordered thinking patterns and their triggers, then reprogram the brain into directing its energy toward healthier and more productive coping mechanisms instead

Your first family therapy session

It’s helpful to know what to expect before you go to family therapy for the first time. You won’t have to wait long to find out for yourself, however, because family therapy for addiction will typically begin just a few weeks after you’ve entered substance abuse treatment.

A couple in family therapy for addiction
Family therapy follows the same basic principles as other forms of therapy.

Each session will last from 50 minutes to an hour. Your therapist will start by asking you and your family questions to understand your situation. These can cover when the substance abuse began, how your family dealt with it, and how they view your issues. Afterward, your counselor will work out goals and a treatment plan for you and your family. Even when fully successful, however, family therapy won’t make all your problems disappear. Instead, it will provide you with tools to cope with family conflict and help you understand each other better. You’re also likely to feel much closer to one another after you’ve completed your sessions. This can help you in recovery by giving you a stronger support system to rely on.

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Family therapy is an important part of treatment for substance use disorder


Addiction is not a choice – it is a disease. As such, it’s not something you can simply stop. Effective evidence-based treatment is necessary to achieve sobriety. A big part of that treatment is therapy and family therapy, more specifically. Both during and after rehab, you will need the help and support of your loved ones. So reconnecting with them and working on your issues through family therapy should be a priority.

Addiction therapy as a path toward recovery

Every person with substance use disorder is unique and requires unique treatment. That is why Harmony Ridge offers personalized care plans to all patients. To ensure that everyone who turns to us can get the help that they need regardless of the substance they use, we provide treatment in the form of:

Each substance has a unique impact on the body and mind; treatment should, therefore, be adjusted to the addiction a person suffers from. But the one thing that all forms of treatment have in common is therapy. Addiction therapy makes up the majority of the time spent in rehab. There’s a good reason for this: therapy is the best way to address the mental and emotional aspects of addiction. Without it, recovery is significantly harder, if not impossible. Even after detoxing, you will still have cravings and respond to triggers by seeking substances. This is what therapy addresses – it helps you understand the reasons behind your addictions, the factors that keep you abusing substances, and the ways to turn those habits around.

The impact of addiction on families

 Addiction is a disease that impacts everyone around you — your friends, coworkers, and especially family. Even when they are kept secret, the actions that fuel your abuse, such as sneaking drugs into the house or stealing money to buy drugs, indirectly involve your family in your addiction. The effects of the substances you take make you unaware of the devastation you inflict on the ones you love. But your substance use can bring your family plenty of legal and financial troubles, affecting their everyday lives.

A woman holding a little girl.
Addiction will impact everyone in the family, including children.

Addiction also heavily impacts marriages. When you take your vows, you promise to love each other for better or for worse, but you also promise to be open and honest. Drugs and alcohol, unfortunately, can turn you into a different person — someone who lies, cheats and steals. These personality changes can take a toll on your marriage. If you have children, they will suffer the negative effects too.

The impact of addiction on children

One in 5 children grows up in a home where one or both parents have a substance use disorder.  When children see their parents while on drugs or drinking, this can be traumatic for them. Studies show that compared with children with non-addict parents, they’re three times more likely to be abused sexually or physically and neglected. Seeing their parents’ behavior while in an altered state can also lead children to become mentally or emotionally unstable.

When parents are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they’re more likely to cause arguments. This can cause great distress in any children present at the time. If these arguments also feature aggressive and violent behavior, the effects on children are even worse. Witnessing this can make children feel guilty and even cause them to blame themselves for their parents’ behavior. This is a form of childhood trauma that can leave lasting consequences.

Finally, children of addicts are more likely to themselves become addicts. This is due to both genetic and epigenetic factors in addiction. Research shows that genetics play an important role in substance abuse – around 40-60% of substance abuse disorders is down to hereditary traits. This makes children of addicts genetically predisposed to addiction. Environmental factors like childhood trauma, growing up around substances, and poverty associated with addiction only exacerbate this.

The importance of having support during addiction recovery

When discussing addiction in the family, the focus is often on how other family members are affected by one’s substance abuse. But family relations are a two-way street. Your addiction does, indeed, have an impact on your family. However, your family can also have an impact on your addiction and recovery.

An elderly man and a young woman in family therapy for addiction
Support from your family can greatly help your recovery.

Having a support system to rely on is vital for people who struggle with substance abuse. Without support, you are far more likely to fall into old habits and relapse even after treatment. A good relationship with your family can help prevent that. Your close family members can inspire you to seek treatment, be there for you when you’re struggling, and support you during recovery. So family therapy is not just for their benefit but also yours. While it will help you make amends for your mistakes, it’ll also teach your family how to best care for you when you’re struggling.

Family therapy at Harmony Ridge will help you mend relationships with loved ones


Although individual therapy in recovery is very important, it is not the only type of therapy you should seek. Much healing can be achieved by interacting with the people around you. Consequently, family therapy has been increasingly accepted and recommended for people in addiction recovery. In fact, if your family doesn’t participate in therapy with you, it can greatly thwart your treatment and subsequent recovery. The proof is in the pudding: substance abuse treatment programs that include family therapy are more likely to have successful outcomes.

Treatment at Harmony Ridge does include family therapy. So you will have the opportunity to reconcile with family members you’ve estranged through addiction and improve relationships with the ones you still have contact with. For most families, this is a good way to move past addiction into a new and better chapter.

However, there are some cases where having no contact with your family is actually a good thing. If you’re just coming out of an abusive marriage or grew up with abusive parents, reconciliation should not be the goal. In such cases, you can include partners, friends, coworkers, and even neighbors in family therapy. Family is whatever you define it as.

The benefits of family therapy for addiction

Studies show that family therapy for addiction can have a positive impact on you and your loved ones. You will learn about how your actions have affected your loved ones, and they will start to understand your addiction and treatment. In doing so, your family will develop better communication skills and learn how to address strong and troubling feelings without escalating conflict.

Family therapy also gives you a chance to address any mental health issues in the family. Whether it’s you or your loved ones suffering from mental illness, your therapist will teach you how to cope with the effects of it and navigate family life with mental disorders.

Family in family therapy for addiction
Therapy benefits the entire family.

Finally, family therapy for addiction can also help other family members who may be struggling with addiction. Addiction often runs in the family. If you abuse substances, there’s a good chance someone else in your family does. Families that are aware of addiction among their loved ones will be better able to notice signs of addiction, prevent the abuse from escalating, and offer adequate support.

Accessing family therapy while attending treatment at Harmony Ridge

Family therapy is a part of standard care at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center. You’ll have the option to participate in it no matter the type of addiction you are being treated for or the level of care you are receiving. Since all of our programs include therapy, they can all accommodate family therapy:

Every family is different and will respond differently to therapy. So even after treatment, relationships can still be strained for a while. If you don’t feel confident about maintaining your sobriety in the family home yet, Harmony Ridge has aftercare programs you can join too. We have a facility for sober living WV where you can stay as a way to transition into everyday life. You’ll be in a controlled environment with other people in recovery; if you follow the rules of the home, you can gain privileges like a later curfew or family visits. It’s an in-between step that helps you gain more confidence and practice your coping mechanisms before you return to your regular life after treatment.

Take the first step toward addiction recovery and start treatment today!


If you are ready to tackle the effects addiction has had on you and your family, contact us to start the admission process. The door to the Harmony Ridge Recovery Center is open 24/7 so you can get help whenever you need it. With medical detox, addiction rehab, and family therapy for addiction, we will help you leave substance abuse behind and rebuild your life with your loved ones.



1. What is family therapy for addiction?

Family therapy is a type of therapy where some or all members of a patient’s immediate family are present and participating. Family therapy for addiction specifically is a type of family therapy where the family of a person with an addiction is present in the session, and the topics of discussion revolve around addiction and family.

2. Who can participate in family therapy?

Typically, it is your close family members who will be in family therapy with you. Depending on your age, stage in life, and family dynamics, this can mean parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, children, aunts, uncles, or even friends and neighbors – anyone who matters to you enough.

3. How does family therapy work?

Family therapy is usually administered in the early stages of treatment and lasts for 12 sessions (although additional sessions can be arranged if needed). You and your family will discuss various issues surrounding family dynamics, and addiction and how those overlap with a therapist who will then help you learn how to better communicate with, understand, and support each other.

4. Is family therapy available at all levels of care?

Family therapy is available at any level of addiction care. If you are in an inpatient rehab center, your family members will simply visit the facility when it’s time for family therapy. If you are in an outpatient program, your family will join you for a portion of your therapy whenever you and your therapist agree is the best time.

5. What is the goal of family therapy?

Ultimately, family therapy aims to address any issues within the family of a person with substance use disorder. The focus is always on how family dynamics have influenced the patient’s addiction and how the patient’s addiction has, in turn, affected the family. However, therapy also helps with issues that have nothing to do with addiction, like other mental illnesses in the family or communication issues. At the end of family therapy, you should have a better understanding of how your addiction impacts your loved ones, and they should have a better grasp on how to help you battle addiction.

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