Substance abuse is an issue that deserves a great amount of individualized care, but addicts are not the only ones who fall victim to its harmful consequences. Oftentimes, friends and family end up getting hurt in some way or another, and it has a way of severing relationships between them and the ones suffering from addiction.

It is significant to note that there is no cookie-cutter way to combat substance abuse. Every individual is unique and requires care that is specific to their needs. There is one common thread among most, and it’s the way their struggle has impacted those who love them. Family therapy has been proven to make a positive impact on the relationships between those who struggle with addiction and their loved ones. In fact, there’s much more depth to this specific treatment and the impact it has on families who suffer from substance abuse. At Northbound Treatment Services, we recognize that addiction and mental health related issues affect the entire family dynamic and because of this we have created a very special program- The Northbound Family Program.

Why Family Therapy?

While we recognize addiction as a disease, we at Northbound also view it as a family illness.  This means that the struggle of one family member has an impact on the health of the entire family system.  We take a stance that supports healing for the whole family unit.Through the work done in family programs and ongoing individual family counseling sessions, we hope to help the individual in their journey to autonomy, while guiding families to a place of healing and letting go of burdensome roles they may have taken on such as caretaking, codependency, or self-neglect.

Too many times, people focus more on the symptoms of a disease rather than investigating the cause. It’s the cause that bears the effects. It is imperative that as soon as somebody identifies and discerns the symptoms of substance abuse that they take immediate action through addiction counseling or rehab. Once action is taken, the foundation for the decisions that have been made will reveal themselves, whether it be depression, anxiety, fear, or something else. 

Our family here at Northbound is committed to providing those afflicted and their families with an immovable foundation to help them move along on their path to healing.

Does My Family Need Therapy?

Problems with substance abuse, or really anything for that matter, have a sort of splatter effect. Some spots may have gotten dirtier than others, but the fact remains that nobody is left unstained. When an entire family unit is impacted by substance abuse, family therapy may be necessary.

If a loved one is nearing the end of their tenure in treatment, family therapy may be the last stage of their path to healthy living. If this is the case, it’s important for the family to be prepared accordingly. Our family program is designed to work with clients and their families and to give everyone tools to use to begin the healing process. The family program is held monthly, and we strongly encourage family members to attend. Even if you have participated in another family program, we believe you will benefit greatly from ours. Family counseling has the potential to make a huge impact on the health of those struggling with substance abuse.

Family Program Dates

Our family program is designed to work with clients and their families and to give everyone the tools to use to begin the healing process. The family program is held monthly, and we strongly encourage family members to attend. Even if you have participated in another family program, we believe you will benefit greatly from ours.

Once admitted into treatment,the assigned Primary Clinician to your loved one’s case will be contacting you in regards to which date will be clinically appropriate.

We have listed below the set dates for the Northbound Family Program for 2020. The Northbound Family Program is at no additional cost to the family, and members are welcome to attend more than once if they would like to reengage in this service offering.

August 12th – 14th, 2020
September 16th – 18th, 2020
October 14th – 16th, 2020
November 18th – 20th, 2020
December 16th – 18th, 2020

Is Family Therapy Necessary?

Family therapy is an important step in a loved one’s recovery journey, whether it takes place in the former or latter stages of rehab. It is crucial for those who struggle with addiction to seek help, but it is just as imperative that the families have the best care available as well. Oftentimes in the initial stages of the recovery process, most of the concern and attention are toward the one who is suffering from addiction. However, the way the family dynamic is impacted is rather significant.

The long-term effects of substance abuse are rather extensive. So, it’s imperative that a family seek out help as soon as they recognize any signs of addiction. Oftentimes, as a result of addiction, family life can feel as though life has been sucked out of it. People begin to withdraw, feeling hopeless and irritable, all because their needs are not being properly addressed. To put it simply, a little bit of yeast finds a way to work through all of the dough.

In order to combat substance abuse, we believe that it is important for families to recover as a unit.

The Family Program was created with families in mind through the un-waivered feedback of participants over the years.  It is an opportunity for each loved one to process their own experience, identify family roles, improve communication skills, and begin to take a step forward in their own recovery. We walk families through the steps of Al Anon, and have groups dedicated to just the families, or working with their loved ones, to begin shifting from a focus on the addicted person to a more harmonious way of living.

We also offer Family Sculpt. Each person has their own perspective and view of the family.  Understanding this can lead to more intimacy, better communication, and greater compassion.  Through an experiential ‘sculpt’ we aim to illuminate the perspective of the client to deepen the family’s understanding of the world through their eyes.

Northbound Sample Family Program

Location: Northbound @ The Campus
3822 Campus Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Note: We’re currently holding our Family Program virtually. Contact us today to learn more!

8:45 am – 9:00 amArrivals and light refreshments at Campus
9:00 am – 10:00 amStaff introductions and Family introductions
10:00 am – 10:15 amBreak
10:15 am – 12:00 pmBack to Basics
12:00 pm – 1:00 pmLunch provided by Northbound
1:00 pm – 2:15 pmHealthy Communication
2:15 pm – 2:30 pmBreak
2:30 pm – 3:30 pmFamily Process
9:00 am – 10:00 amCo-Dependency
10:00 am – 10:15 amBreak
10:15 am – 12:00 pmWants and Needs (Clients Participate)
12:00 pm – 1:00 pmLunch provided by Northbound
1:00 pm – 3:30 pmFamily Sculpt (Clients Participate)
3:30 pm – 4:00 pmBreak
4:00 pm – 5:00 pmFamily Sculpt Process
9:00 am – 11:00 amIndividual appointments with Primary Clinician
11:00 am – 1:00 pmFamilies and clients may go out and eat lunch off-site
1:00 pm – 2:45 pmKnee to Knee (Clients Participate)

How Will Family Therapy Help?

This whole process is founded upon identifying the causes that led a certain member to substance abuse. This method strikes the problem at its core, which in turn will mend the broken pieces from the impact of addiction.

The practices of family therapy include:

  • Group therapy sessions with those suffering and their loved ones
  • Family education activities
  • Private sessions with a therapist and the whole family

There is no shortage of needs that need to be met in the individuals of each family member, as well as the family as a whole. Some people may be feeling neglected, or even at fault for their loved one’s substance abuse problems. As a result, they end up feeling hurt on an emotional level.

A family therapy program will provide individuals with the necessary tools to combat substance abuse in their household. The goal is to ultimately improve the relationships of everyone involved. Sometimes the substance abuse could have even started with issues in the home, in which case therapy will mend the symptoms. But, more importantly, therapy can identify and address the cause of it all. 

The Importance of Setting Goals

It is no question that the road to a loved one’s recovery is not an easy one. It can often be uncomfortable. Also, it can even cause patients to feel isolated and alone, sometimes even judged. It is imperative that families come together and set goals for the benefit of the patient and themselves. The first step in doing this is becoming aware, understanding, and empathizing with those struggling to recover. 

Some goals may be as simple as coming into a private session aiming to understand and validate an addict’s pain, but some may be as difficult as rebuilding a broken home. There are many side effects of addiction that impact the family involved. For example, parental authority may not be well-received. 

Restoring communication is crucial to addiction recovery. For loved ones, it could mean just listening and contemplating how to respond before actually responding. One of our goals at Northbound is to help build poor communication in a home back up. This will come as a result of trust. It’s important that each patient feels heard and understood so that they can take that first step in trusting their own family. In addition, expressing to our patients that they are surrounded by a family support system is a key aspect to addiction recovery.

Our Family at Northbound

What makes our family program unique?  Aside from the focus being on you, the family, we offer multiple day services dedicated towards practicing skills to use in daily life.  In future family updates and calls with your loved one’s primary clinician, you can discuss your own work, needs, and progress.

Our family members include:

  • Therapists – Our therapists are educated and trained in working with patients and their families who have struggled with drug addiction, mental illness, and trauma.
  • Doctors – They ensure a safe recovery environment for recovery management and general physical and mental health.
  • Wellness Staff – These individuals offer education and resources that will help those struggling with addiction and their families to heal. 

Our team at Northbound is committed to offering the best care to meet every family’s needs. Patients and loved ones can remain confident and aware that they are safe and understood in the hands of our compassionate staff.

Life After Therapy

Our family here at Northbound is committed to providing families who have been impacted by addiction with therapy that helps guide them along on their recovery journey. Truly, our desire is to help mend the broken pieces of family structures that have been harmed, and help them arrive at a place of stability. Our goal is to educate families and provide them with the tools that are necessary to move forward on their path to healing.

However, no family is completely put back together once they’ve completed our recovery program. It does, however, lay the foundation for better communication and healthier decision making. Family therapy and support groups are also available to help patients and their families stay grounded outside of the safety of our recovery centers.

Where To Go From Here

One of the worst parts of substance abuse is the impact it has on families. Not only does it hurt those addicted, but it also tears them apart. Addiction has the power to destroy well-founded relationships and enable discord among loved ones.

At Northbound, we believe in coming alongside those who struggle with addiction and their families. Our goal is to leave no stone unturned. We aim to encourage and support families in their pursuit of revitalized structure. Treating each family is a complex process due to unique and individual needs.

Our team desires to lead our patients to a place of stability. We do this by assessing the needs of each individual in the family so that we may lay a strong foundation for the home to stand on its own. Throughout their time here at Northbound, families will be treated with a compassionate and understanding spirit so that they may have peace of mind in their pursuit of stability.

We are committed to assisting our families in long-term recovery so that what they’ve learned and practiced with us can be applied to their homes. You can contact us here, or call us at (866) 311-0003.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.