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types of family therapy approaches

Family therapy is meant to improve interpersonal relationships among family members, couples and significant others. The family therapist typically prompts conversations that fortify and improve connections between loved ones.

Family therapy is pitched differently depending on the disorder being treated. For example:

  1. Family therapy is spun differently regarding the mental health of subjects
  2. Similarly, family therapy style must be modified with patients who have mental disorders
  3. Eating disordered patients
  4. Hospice patients
  5. Substance dependent people

There are a number of recovery-sensitive techniques implemented for family therapy including:

  • Structural
  • Strategic
  • Transgenerational
  • Communication
  • Psychoeducation
  • Relationship Counseling

Structural Family Therapy

Structural family therapy concentrates on the interactions between people and not their corresponding psyches. It is based on interactions within the family and based on social interactions.

The structural family therapists prompts the dysfunctional aspects of families to adapt towards more adhesive family attributes that suit family needs.

Strategic Therapy

Strategic therapy is a style that involves five stages:

  1. Social stage
  2. Problem stage
  3. Interactional stage
  4. Goal-setting stage
  5. Task-setting stage

Transgenerational Therapy

Transgenerational therapy examines family systems across many generations and hunts for the main issues within the family. This type of therapy is also referenced as “family of origin” exploration. The therapist looks for current issues, and attempts to link them to future struggles or stressful scenarios.

Communication Therapy

Communication therapy is therapy that focuses on communication issues between family members and couples. Communication schisms often result from differences in cultural, religious, geographic and personal experiences. Communication issues may also be associated with trauma, secrecy and mental health issues.

The overall goal, as it is in all types of family therapy, is to help improve communication skills and abilities via better active listening, and lines of communication.


Psychoeducation is the practice of teaching those with substance use disorders and their families to help conceptualize the ways in which substance use impacts the family and the ways that the family impacts substance use.

Psychoeducation has four core goals in mind:

  1. Providing pertinent substance abuse/family information
  2. Understanding medication-assisted treatment where applicable
  3. Training and support in self-help
  4. Provides a safe space to vent
Family Therapy

Relationships Counseling

Relationships counseling, regardless of whether its parent-child, spouse-spouse, significant other-significant other, is a common denominator within the family therapy venue. Relationships can be difficult and simple day-to-day problems can increase stress or strain within relationships.

Other contributing factors include, chronic illness, ineffective communicating skills, infidelity, emotional distancing, trust-mistrust issues and financial issues.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an integral part of any comprehensive substance use disorder treatment program.

Recovery-sensitive family therapy treatment comes in many forms including:

  1. Individual
  2. Group
  3. Residential
  4. Intensive Outpatient
  5. Outpatient
  6. Family weekend during residential treatment
  7. Family week during residential treatment

Reach Out

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY.

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