Addiction counseling isn’t a magic remedy. Getting through an addiction takes time, determination and a heap of support. Research has shown that therapy that doesn’t include any kind of family addiction counseling is less likely to succeed.

Why is counseling with family members so important? Family is just as present in the life of an addict as the addiction itself. Without the support of key family members, the road to recovery can be a lot harder. Here’s why this kind of counseling is so beneficial for everyone involved.

Stay Engaged with Therapy

Therapy is certainly no easy option for any addict. There are guaranteed to be times when your loved one feels like giving up. The road to recovery is full of bumps, no matter how much determination your family member has.

Attending family therapy for addiction will encourage your loved one to stay engaged in their recovery. It’s a way of showing someone they aren’t alone in their battle against addiction. That type of security is invaluable to anyone going through therapy.

Education and Information

For many families, rehabilitation and therapy for addiction are entirely new. You may be feeling apprehensive and anxious because you’re unsure what to expect. One of the main benefits of family counseling is for everyone to understand what is involved.

It’s a great way to prepare yourselves for what treatment and therapy involve and how you can help your loved one once treatment is over. You’ll be told what to expect once treatment has finished and what kind of support to offer.

Talking It Out

Addiction affects different family members in different ways but it will affect every family member in some way. If your relationship with your loved one began to deteriorate before therapy, family drug counseling could help you communicate again.

Voicing your concerns and feelings in a safe environment where everyone gets to have their say is a great way for families to start the healing process. In this way, your loved one will be able to leave well into recovery and with relationships intact.

Easing Detox Symptoms

When a person has an addiction, whether it be to alcohol or drugs, there will be physical and emotional symptoms that come along with detoxing. The body has to deal with physical symptoms, like sweating, headaches and the shakes. These symptoms can be eased with medication but emotional symptoms take more work.

During recovery, your loved one may feel vulnerable, stressed, angry and scared. As a supportive family member, you can help your loved one address these feelings. Just knowing that you’re there and willing to help could make a huge difference to how your loved one feels.

Gain Vital Knowledge

Professionals in the field of addiction will have developed certain strategies to manage people in recovery who may revert back to old habits. Although every family member hopes their loved one will stay on the road to recovery, the truth is many people find themselves slipping up when they are left to their own devices.

As a concerned family member, you’ll be able to learn new skills and strategies during family therapy for drug addiction that may help you if your loved one strays from the recovery program. It may include things to say, things to do and how to confront your loved one in order to get them back on track quickly.

Tackle Mental Health Issues

Sadly, mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse can go hand in hand. If your loved one struggles with mental health issues, like depression or anxiety, it can make recovery a lot harder. It can also mean your loved one will find it more difficult to stay in recovery once therapy has ended.

If you’re aware of your loved one’s mental health issues, these can be addressed during your counseling sessions. Communicating openly about these issues may give you an insight into how your loved one feels on occasion and trigger points that can start behavior that leads to drug or alcohol abuse.

Peace of Mind

If your loved one has entered a rehabilitation program, especially at a treatment center, you can have peace of mind that they’re in the right place. For family members, it can be difficult to know whether the right decisions have been made. This is especially true if the family held an intervention before rehab.

Therapy is the best course of action for anyone suffering from addiction so you can stop torturing yourself over any past actions or words. 

Set Goals

Your family counseling sessions will be a great place to set goals for the whole family. As part of your loved one’s therapy, goals will be set for when therapy finishes. It’s a great idea for your loved one to set goals to focus on so there will be a distraction at the most testing times. 

As a family, your goals should include spending time together or achieving something you weren’t able to achieve before. For example, looking forward to a family holiday where everyone gets to relax and unwind is something everyone can get on board with.

Alleviate Worry

Some addicts are unwilling to participate in counseling sessions at first because they’re afraid they’ll be ganged up on. Some may not want to contribute to sessions because they don’t want to face difficult memories or issues in front of family members.

In this instance, it’s important for your loved one to have individual counseling sessions as well. Be sure to acknowledge your loved one’s concerns and reassure them.

Family Addiction Counseling is More Important Than You Know

Family addiction counseling has the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of everyone involved. It offers a way to forgive, address root issues and pave a future together. For more information on family addiction therapy and rehab facilities, visit New Jersey Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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