Bowen Family Therapy is part of a growing trend of independent approaches to healing and family centered centers. One of the main reasons that I believe that the Bowen Family Therapy appeals to me so much is that Bowen took his own approach to solving the dynamics and nuances of therapy. Instead of focusing on tried and true methods for everyone he instead devised his own methods which would eventually turn into a completely viable approach that everyone else could take too. The Bowen Family Therapy, in my opinion, offers a chance to present information to the client in a way which affords them the opportunity to recognize the unconsciousness factors impacting their life. All too often we see or examine therapy treatment styles which do not properly address these factors and therefore leave an empty hole which leads to relapse situations. Unfortunately, the Bowen Family Therapy approach cannot be used in every situation nor does it apply to every family so its practical application in the real world, depending on where you practice can have limited uses. Depending on the clients’ needs and their own family history it will be important to properly assess whether or not this approach will be of any use.
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.