Family Therapy in Adolescent Substance Use Treatment

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We Specialize In Adolescent Treatment

Family therapy is an important component of our adolescent substance use treatment program. At Guardian Recovery, we offer teen substance abuse family therapy for adolescents experiencing substance use disorders and their family members. We believe the importance of family involvement throughout the treatment process cannot be emphasized enough. 

Substance use affects the entire family system. Not only is the development of substance dependence based largely on genetic predisposition, but substance use can destroy the emotional well-being and mental health of everyone it touches — in most cases, this includes the immediate family of a substance user. Contact us today to learn more about our adolescent substance use treatment programs. 

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The Value of Educating Family on Substance Use Disorders (SUD)

There is value in educating the family members of an individual experiencing a substance use disorder. Family members may possess information regarding how substance use has developed throughout their family, and what may positively influence treatment outcomes. (1) Providing family members with psychoeducation is very important when it comes to supporting a loved one through the substance use treatment process. This can help foster a sense of understanding in terms of how substance use has impacted the teen, and others close to them. 

At Guardian Recovery, we offer in-depth substance use education classes and workshops to the family members of our clients. 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.

Family Involvement & Support in Adolescent Substance Use Recovery

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. Research has found that family support can help improve an individual’s overall treatment outcomes. (2) 

What Are the Goals in Family Therapy?

The main goal of family therapy 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.

Additional goals of family therapy may include: (3) 

  • Improving communication skills between all family members.
  • Exploring the family dynamics. 
  • Mobilizing the family’s internal strength and resources. 
  • Understanding and handling specific family situations.
  • Improving the home environment of the family members. 
  • Restructuring maladaptive family styles.
  • Improving the family’s problem-solving techniques. 

Will Family Therapy Help Communications & Relationships at Home?

Yes, research has found that family therapy can help improve the communication and relationships between family members. (4) These communication techniques developed during the session can be utilized at home as well. 

Addressing Underlying Issues in Family Dynamics

Each family has its own family dynamics. In a family therapy session, family dynamics are explored and any underlying issues are addressed and processed with the help of a licensed mental health counselor or a licensed professional counselor. 

Our Approach to Family Therapy for Teen Treatment

At Guardian Recovery, we place a strong emphasis on age-specific issues and challenges during our family therapy sessions. For example, the impact of social media, peer pressure at school, family dynamics, and any other area that may impact the teen and their family members is discussed during the session. Our family sessions help each individual develop emotional regulation skills, communication techniques, and healthy coping skills. There is also a strong emphasis on restoring healthy family dynamics and building healthy relationships with friends and family members during our teen family therapy sessions. At Guardian Recovery, our teen clients and their family members work on building skills that facilitate this process, like communication, conflict resolution, and setting and maintaining boundaries. 

Family-Oriented Support Services We Provide

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. The better the family understands substance use, the better equipped they are to address it. Substance use 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 teens who have been engaging in substance use for some time. 

Continuous support group involvement is also beneficial. There are numerous resources available to the family members of those who engage in substance use. At Guardian recovery, we teach you how to effectively seek these resources whenever need be.

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What to Expect in Family Therapy Sessions

Each family session is different, as each is tailored to address that specific family dynamic. 

In general, the following can be expected during one of our family therapy sessions: 

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding our teen addiction family therapy program.

How Can Family Be Involved During My Teen’s Treatment?

Family therapy is one of the best ways for families to be involved in their teens’ treatment. A licensed counselor will work with you and your family to develop a family treatment plan. 

Who Will Be Involved During Family Therapy Sessions?

Family therapy sessions involve the teen experiencing substance use, their immediate family members or guardians, and a licensed mental health counselor or a licensed professional counselor. 

Is Family Therapy Required for My Child’s Treatment?

Depending on your child’s specific needs and diagnosis, family therapy may be required for your child’s treatment. During our initial evaluation, the licensed healthcare providers working with your family will discuss with you all the required treatment sessions. 

How Often Are Family Therapy Sessions Held?

The frequency of family therapy sessions depends on the individual client and their specific treatment plan. 

How Long Are Family Therapy Sessions?

Each family therapy session typically lasts for about an hour, but the duration of each session will depend on the needs of the client and their loved ones. 

Will Individual Members Be Able to Express Their Concerns During Sessions?

Yes, each individual member is provided the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and emotions throughout the entire session. The therapist conducting the session will ensure that each member is following the rules discussed throughout the session and is being respectful. 

How Can Our Family Provide Guidance and Support at Home?

At-home family support may include providing encouragement to your teen during the recovery process or having a willingness to adapt to the new therapeutic techniques discussed in treatment at home. The exact support needed depends on your teen and which phase of the recovery process they are currently in. 

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If your teen has been finding it difficult to control substance use, a diagnosable substance use disorder may be present. At Guardian Recovery, we offer evidence-based services for adolescents experiencing mental health and substance use disorders, and their families. Our family therapy sessions can help you and your family develop the necessary skills needed to build and maintain healthy familial bonds. 

One of our Treatment Advisors is ready to speak with you and help guide you through our simple admissions process. A free, no obligation insurance benefits check can be provided upon your request in order to determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. At Guardian Recovery, we understand that substance use impacts that entire family. Contact us if you are interested in our adolescent family therapy program and to start your recovery journey today.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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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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