The Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) intensive family therapy program creates an opportunity for the entire family. It provides a chance to embrace and participate in the healing that addiction recovery brings. Our family therapy program is designed to enhance the quality of our patients’ relationships with their families, friends, or significant others.
The family therapy sessions here at FCR also provide family members of recovering addicts with a forum to address chronic issues within their families. Family members of recovering addicts at FCR also get the opportunity to address any concerns that they may have about their loved ones in recovery under the guidance of our licensed therapists. Families can even learn how to positively communicate with one another during family addiction counseling.
In order for family members to receive information and get integrated into the Florida Center for Recovery addiction treatment process, they must sign a release of information forms. This is because we here at Florida Center for Recovery are bound by law to respect patient confidentiality.
What is Intensive Family Therapy?
Intensive family therapy is a form of talk therapy that occurs between one therapist and a particular family. In this case, that particular family is the family members of individuals that are attending addiction treatment at Florida Center for Recovery. What makes a family therapy session intensive is how deep the therapy sessions get into the issues within a family.
What Families Should Know About Intensive Family Therapy
Once a patient signs the required forms, in accordance with our family contact guidelines, the individual’s family should expect the following things to occur:
1. A Call from Primary Therapist
The FCR primary therapist of each FCR patient will contact designated family members via phone within 72 business hours of the patient being admitted into treatment. For patients admitted on a Friday, a call is scheduled for the following Monday.
2. Emergency Call Plan
One member of the FCR patient’s family will receive a weekly phone call or email update from the patient’s assigned primary therapist. If additional emergency calls are needed, the primary therapist will contact the designated family member. If there are urgent messages to send to their loved ones, the designated family member can contact the patient’s primary therapist.
3. Write Impact Letter
Family members involved in intensive family therapy will write “an impact letter”. Many times, the individuals that are struggling with substance use don’t know the effects that their behaviors have had on their families. As a result, addicts often think that they are the sole victims in the situation.
By making the family members of individuals that are in addiction treatment here at FCR write impact letters, we’re giving them the opportunity to directly share with their loved ones in recovery the impact that their substance addictions and reckless behavior have had on their families. The goal of these “impact letters” is not to shame the recovering patients.
The goal is to help all the members within each family share their feelings with one another in a loving and respectful way. By doing so, hopefully, genuine conversations about issues within the family will open up and healing will begin.
4. Intensive Family Therapy Day
Family members of FCR patients are invited to participate in intensive family therapy one day a month. This aspect of our program is an important element in each patient’s recovery.
Intensive family therapy is also important to the healing of each FCR patient’s family unit. During intensive family therapy, families of FCR patients get the opportunity to participate in psycho-educational groups, family process groups, and family therapy.
Intensive Family Therapy Day Questions for Family Members and Loved Ones
- Do you contribute to your loved one’s addiction?
- Do you avoid things? (Just keep the peace, take care of problems, and don’t upset anyone.)
- Do you minimize? (It’s not so bad…things will get better when…)
- Do you protect? (Protecting their image with co-workers and friends…protect own image)
- Do you take responsibility? (He’s only 19…I’ll pay his phone, He’s hungover, I’ll fix it for him)
- Do you suffer? (If I can just be patient, things will get better…)
- Do you have weak boundaries?
- Do you enable others?
- Are you codependent?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, the FCR intensive family therapy program is for you. Going through family addiction counseling will allow every individual to make the changes that he or she needs to make to better oneself as well as the family as a whole.
Roles Within Families Affected by Addiction
One way that intensive family therapy aims to get to the root of the issues within a family is by getting all the family members to figure out their roles in the family dynamic. Once every family member does this, they can each figure out how they positively and negatively impact the family dynamic.
First, members of a family of a person who suffers from addiction figure out their personal family roles. They can try to fix the things within themselves that negatively affect the family dynamic. Each family member can also hold one another accountable for fixing the ways that they negatively impact the family as a whole.
The roles that members of a family of a person who suffers from addiction tend to play are the addict, the enabler, the hero, the scapegoat, the mascot, and the lost child.
1. The Addict
The addict is the person in the family that suffers from addiction. This person will lie, manipulate, steal, and essentially do anything it takes to get more substances. As a result, the family members of the addict put all their energy and focus into making sure the addict stays out of trouble. This can cause the family members of the addict to become resentful. This can also cause the family members of the addict to not have the time to take care of themselves and their own issues.
2. The Enabler
The enabler is the person in the family with an addict in it that constantly works overtime to protect the addict. In an effort to do this, the enabler is always forced to deny the actions of the addict. That way the addict doesn’t get into trouble.
While the enabler is only trying to help the addict, in reality, the enabler is only making it easier for the addict to continue to abuse substances. Oftentimes, the enabler in the family with addiction is the spouse of the addict.
3. The Hero
The hero is the person in the family with an addict in it that is always trying to fix everything. This is also the person that is always trying to bring the family back together. The hero is also the person that is always taking care of everyone else in the family.
This individual tends to put so much pressure on him or herself to be perfect. As a result, the hero often ends up suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety. Often, the hero is the eldest child in the family or a family member who tends to be more responsible overall.
4. The Scapegoat
The scapegoat is the person in the family that always gets blamed for everything that goes wrong. This individual is also often the person that is voicing the family’s collective anger and frustration.
Often, the scapegoat may come across as combative. Ultimately, though, the scapegoat shields the addict from resentment and criticism by taking it upon himself. The addict is often the second oldest child.
5. The Mascot
The mascot is the person in the family that is always trying to make light of things. This person also distracts other family members from the real issues that are going on. The mascot may try to distract others from what’s going on through humor.
Although the mascot tends to have a smile on his or her face, that person is usually very fragile. That person is also usually vulnerable and desperate for the approval of others. As a result, mascots of families often end up self-medicating themselves to deal with their fears of being vulnerable and not accepted. The mascots of families tend to be the youngest.
6. The Lost Child
The lost child is the person in the family that is usually shy and withdrawn. As a result, many people view the lost child as being invisible. Lost children don’t seek a lot of attention and, as a result, they struggle with intimate relationships. The lost child is usually either the middle child or the youngest child.
Benefits of Intensive Family Therapy
There are other benefits that intensive family therapy provides outside of helping family members of recovering addicts learn how to better themselves and their family dynamics. Some of these benefits are described below.
Education about addiction: Another common goal of intensive family therapy is to educate the family members of recovering addicts on addiction. By doing this, the family members of those in recovery can actually start to empathize with their loved ones that are suffering from addiction.
Family members of recovering addicts can even learn skills and strategies during family addiction counseling. These skills and tragedies can help their loved ones remain sober.
Family Support: Once the family members of those in addiction recovery receive education about addiction, they can better provide support to their loved ones attending rehab at FCR. This is especially true once the communication between the members of a family with addiction gets better.