Do Family Interventions Work?
Watching someone you love try to face their mental health concerns can understandably be challenging. When those issues start interfering with that person’s life, and impacting the family relationships as a result, many turn to family therapy interventions. Family therapy can also help couples with marital or financial issues. Some families choose therapy when learning how to provide support for someone with a mental illness, or when parents and children are in conflict.
Seeking professional therapy from a licensed practitioner is a key first step toward recovery and healing. Depending on the modality or family therapy theories chosen, the family can work together during counseling and at home towards living life with open communication and family support.
What Are Family Therapy Interventions?
Someone living with addiction, substance abuse, or eating disorders may feel resistance to reaching out for help or, potentially, not have the energy or inclination to do so. When family members or caregivers recognize these patterns or behaviors, suggesting family therapy sessions in a supportive way can sometimes be the catalyst for that individual to find help for their situation.
Family intervention is a process where family members get together to identify a problem within the family group, strategize on how to resolve the issue, and find a therapist who can help their loved one find a more balanced and empowering path.
Types of therapy can include hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and neuro-linguistic programming. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, behavioral therapies not only help the family member overcome substance abuse or addiction, but can help them from relapsing in the future.
Goals of intervention include improving family communication and engagement, reducing stress for family members, and getting treatment for someone who has an addiction, whether chemical or behavioral. Seeking therapy can help parents communicate more effectively with their children and help couples overcome stressful situations.
When Should the Family Consider Interventions?
How does a family member, caregiver, or friend recognize when it’s time for family therapy intervention? Generally, when the behavior becomes destructive to the person, family members, co-workers, or society. While family members may recognize the need for interventions, getting the person to treatment or therapy may prove difficult.
If they’re reluctant to attend family therapy sessions or in denial that they need help, it may take using different strategies to get them into therapy.
Using the family as a group to gently point out potential destructive behavior caused by the person may help to nudge them into therapy. For families in crisis or experiencing high-levels of stress, someone outside of the immediate family may have to intervene. Outside intervention may help to save the family structure or keep someone from inflicting harm.
How To Prepare For Intervention?
Once the family members decide that therapy is necessary, preparing for a session requires planning. Prepare ahead of time, and use the following tips advised by the National Alliance on Mental Illness during therapy:
- Prepare by having each member of the family write down thoughts and questions they would like to ask the therapist.
- Stay calm and breathe.
- Try to not get into an argument.
- Be respectful to each other and the therapist.
- Let everyone have their turn speaking without interruption.
- Try to avoid blaming each other.
What Are the Types of Family Therapy Theories?
Once family therapy interventions happen, the therapist can use different types of therapy approaches to achieve results. These are the four common types of theories:
- Structural Therapy: This type of therapy focuses on the structure, organization, and relationships within the family. Structural therapy is the foundation for most family therapy sessions.
- Strategic Therapy: This therapy theory helps with parent/child conflicts and focuses on changing behaviors and patterns that may disrupt a child’s mental and behavioral growth.
- Behavioral/Cognitive Therapy: Therapists use this type of therapy to help family members identify the problem that led them to seek therapy. Cognitive therapy helps the family find solutions for present problems and prevent future issues.
- Transgenerational Therapy: This modality of therapy looks across multiple generations within a family structure to identify how past generations may have responded to stress or conflicts. Therapists can use this information to help break a recurring pattern and have the present generation handle stressful situations differently.
Healing After Therapy
When families learn coping skills for substance abuse, and other mechanisms to handle conflict, stress, and potential relapse,they can move into a healing phase. The family as a whole may need to continue therapy throughout the healing phase and even beyond to maintain stability. If addiction or substance abuse is the problem, the person may need ongoing treatment or rehabilitation to prevent relapses.
Trying different approaches to therapy such as using hypnotherapy for anger management or therapy for bipolar disorder may help prevent relapses and continued conflicts. Taking time as a family to share pleasant experiences can help strengthen the family bond. In addition, keeping open lines of communication within the family may help prevent future interventions.
Family therapy interventions help members of the family communicate more effectively, can resolve conflicts, and help someone get the treatment they need. If you would like help getting family therapy sessions, Miami Hypnosis and Therapy can help.
Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the lead practitioner for Miami Hypnosis and Therapy and holds dual Masters degrees from Columbia University. In addition, Anna Marchenko holds a certification of hypnosis from the Florida Department of Education. Book your session for Family and Couples Therapy at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy today to start your family’s journey toward healing.