Family Therapy

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Family Focused Therapy

The Importance of Family Therapy

At Guardian Recovery we believe the importance of family involvement throughout the treatment process cannot be emphasized enough. Addiction affects the entire family system. Not only is the development of substance dependence based largely on genetic predisposition, but addiction destroys the emotional well-being and mental health of everyone it touches — in most cases, this includes the immediate family of the addict or alcoholic. There are numerous benefits that go hand-in-hand with ongoing support from family members, including the likelihood that treatment is successful long-term and that relapse is effectively avoided. We strive to make sure that the loved ones of each of our clients have continuous access to the support, educational resources and therapeutic care they need in order to heal simultaneously.

Substance abuse and dependence deeply affects everyone in the family in a variety of ways. Because the disease of addiction is complex and insidious, it can be difficult to know just how to respond or the best ways to help. The loved ones of our clients attempt to cope however they can, sometimes engaging in unproductive coping mechanisms like:

  • Ignoring the substance abuse issue and hoping it will simply resolve on its own
  • Actively avoiding their loved one when he or she is intoxicated
  • Attempting to use anger or force in order to control unhealthy behavioral patterns
  • Enabling their loved one so that he or she remains safe and somewhat content
  • Turning to chemical substances themselves, in an attempt to self-medicate

At Guardian Recovery we understand just how painful it can be to watch a loved one fight the battle of substance abuse. Many of our staff members have either undergone the recovery process themselves or helped a loved one overcome an addictive disorder in the past. This gives us unique and compassionate insight, which in turn gives us the ability to help facilitate deep and lasting familial healing.

Family-Oriented Addiction Treatment

At Guardian Recovery we believe that the immediate family of each client should be heavily involved in the entire treatment process from start to finish. We provide a wide range of family-oriented services in order to make this possible, from family therapy sessions to an intensive Family Workshop. One of the most important family-oriented services we provide is addiction education. The better the family understands substance abuse, the better equipped they are to address it. Addiction education takes place during family therapy sessions and during our professionally developed Family Workshop. However, we are also dedicated to helping the family members of our clients thoroughly understand how and where to seek additional recovery-related resources on their own. In many cases, individual therapy is necessary, especially for men and women who have been living among active addiction for years. Continuous support group involvement is also beneficial. There are numerous resources available to the family members of addicts and alcoholics — we teach you how to effectively seek these resources whenever need be.

What to Expect from Family Therapy

If you have no prior experience with family therapy, you might be wondering just what to expect. The prevalence of family therapy depends on the level of clinical care. For example, clients who are in residential treatment have access to more family therapy sessions than clients who are in an intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment program. The frequency of sessions also depends on the availability of the family. In some cases, family members live in a different state, or they may have conflicting schedules. For families who live far away we offer virtual therapy sessions, facilitated by one of our licensed family therapists. If you are able to make it to the treatment facility, you can expect the following from our family therapy program:

  • All family therapy sessions are facilitated by a licensed therapist who has extensive experience treating the family as a whole. 
  • Family therapy sessions focus on the role that each individual plays in the family unit, and how active addiction has impacted this role and led to dysfunction. 
  • One of the main focuses of family therapy is learning how to effectively communicate in a calm and productive manner. The therapist guides the conversation, making sure that all points are made and that conversation never devolves into angered yelling, blaming or accusations.

The goal of treatment is to meet the individual needs of all family members, addressing areas of concern thoroughly and making sure that any existing conflict is resolved. Families can be a wonderful built-in support system so long every family member is simultaneously having his or her needs met on an individual basis.

The Family-Oriented Services We Offer

At Guardian Recovery we offer a wide range of family-oriented services in order to facilitate family involvement.

These services include:

  • Addiction education – Understanding the disease model of addiction is very important when it comes to supporting a loved one through the addiction treatment process. We offer in-depth addiction education classes and workshops to the family members of our clients.
  • Family therapy sessions – Intensive therapeutic care is the backbone of our comprehensive treatment program. We provide our clients and their loved ones with access to professionally facilitated family therapy sessions, during which pertinent topics are addressed in depth. The main goal of family therapy is to help the family unit return to a state of healthy functioning.
  • A Family Workshop – Our three-day, intensive Family Workshop was developed by our clinical team with the goal of helping each family member heal individually as the family unit heals comprehensively. Family dynamics are explored thoroughly and any necessary restructuring is tackled.
  • Relational reframing – This therapeutic service helps the family effectively identify problems and generate viable solutions. It is important that all family members are on the same page when it comes to conflict resolution.
  • The development of effective communication skills – Healthy communication is key to long-term sobriety. We teach our clients and their loved ones how to effectively express their needs and feelings.
  • Working through uncomfortable emotions on an individual basis – It is important that each individual family member has the skills necessary to work through uncomfortable emotions so that tensions do not build within the household. We teach the family members of our clients a range of healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Avoiding relapse triggers/relapse prevention – If a client plans on returning home after treatment, it is imperative that all of his or her personal relapse triggers are identified and addressed. If his or her family members are aware of these triggers, they can actively do their part to ensure that the home is a safe space.
  • Family behavior changes/dynamic changes – Encouraging individual behavioral changes can benefit the overall family dynamic immensely. We help the loved ones of our clients identify their own negative thinking and behavioral patterns, and make necessary changes.

Our Simple Admissions Process

At Guardian Recovery we believe that quality clinical care should be readily available and easily accessible. We are dedicated to providing men and women of all ages and personal backgrounds with a multi-phased treatment program that lends itself to long-term sobriety. The moment you or your loved one gives us a call, we conduct a brief pre-assessment over the phone which helps our clinical team determine which level of care is going to be the most effective for each unique case. Once the assessment is complete we shift the focus to coverage and travel plans. We work closely with most major regional and national health insurance providers, meaning that if you are currently insured there is a good chance that some or all of our treatment services will be covered. We also offer self-pay options for men and women who are under-insured or uninsured. Once coverage is determined we set a date and a time for intake and help arrange transportation – which we offer to those in need. If you or your loved one is ready to begin on a lifelong journey of healing and recovery, we are available to help. Simply contact us today.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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