Family systems therapy increases motivation for recovery in many ways. In family therapy there are five goals in which should be addressed and recommended. The five goals are to increase motivation for recovery, to convey the whole-family message, to change family patterns that work against recovery, to prepare the family for what to expect in early recovery, and to encourage family members’ own long-term support.
In family therapy you will typically be agitated and more anxious when family members are present. Fortunately, this anxiety is necessary for change as family is one the greatest influences on a person’s life and therefore can be motivation in recovery. It is also an interesting fact that the family member is usually the first to cry or admit issues. If you have children, they can be a huge influence for you even when no one else can seem to get through to you. There always seems to be a link between the chemically dependent patient and other family members in some way and it is important to convey the Whole-Family-Message during sessions. This then leads to changing the family patterns that work against recovery. Once the entire family is involved it is crucial to eliminate conflicts, coalitions, and especially the enabler.
Preparing the family on what to expect in early recovery can often be challenging. It is known that early sobriety is often worse than when you were during the use of the chemical. That is why it is important for the family members to understand what the process involves. Without this explanation, family members may be inclined to give up thinking that it was just easier to let them be dependent. Also, encouraging the family members’ own long-term support is what is needed to the optimal outcome. Even after all of the chemicals are gone, the anger, frustration, mood swings, etc. can last much longer than the family members may think. This keeps the unrealistic expectations that the problems will disappear once the abuse stops at bay.