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The Role of Family Therapy in Teen Mental Health Treatment

two people talk about family therapy

Family is a very crucial element of recovery. Generally speaking, it is important to have a direct and immediate support system beyond the team and staff members at your recovery facility. For teens, specifically, family involvement provides this support. It is often difficult to be vulnerable with family members about addiction and mental health. Family therapy, though, is a service that creates a safe space for teens and their families to participate in healthy communication and understanding.

At Destinations for Teens, family therapy is a service that is mandatory for clients and their families to participate in. Family and community are valued elements of recovery and healing at Destinations for Teens. When teens are struggling with mental health disorders and symptoms, such as trauma, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and self-harm, having a personal support system can be crucial in keeping the client on the right path to healing long-term.

The Importance of Family in Recovery and Healing

Family involvement is important for clients regardless of age. However, it is especially important for adolescents and teens. At this age, clients struggle with inner strength and belief in themselves. This can come from their families. For teens, family is a main element of their social world and often is the center of it. This makes one’s family a primary support network in recovery and healing.

Family can mean different things depending on the client but is centered around the client’s caregivers. This does not always mean the client’s biological parents, for instance. So, having the center of the client’s social network may look like the teen’s siblings, guardians, etc. Because recovery starts at a young age in these scenarios, family is crucial in keeping their teen on track even after the initial treatment phase. Families and their teens are taught relapse prevention mechanisms and skills, and practicing these outside of the facility must be supported by the teen’s parents/guardians. Family can inspire hope, structure, self-advocacy, vulnerability, positive communication, wellness, acceptance, and protection over one’s sense of self, among other things. Their involvement in the recovery and healing processes is also important as it encourages social connection.

Thus, having family intertwined in the treatment process is beneficial. This can be done through family therapy and other family-based services. It is a key part of developing the connection between the client and their loved ones. This connection allows clients and their families to foster a mutual sense of understanding about the disorder(s) at hand as well as the treatment process and/or recovery plan.

What Can Family Therapy at Destinations for Teens Do For You?

Family therapy is one of the many therapeutic services at Destinations for Teens. Destinations for Teens enact a collaborative support model that involves the individual as well as the community in the therapy process. Part of this community is the client’s family. This starts before family therapy when parents and/or guardians see that mental health or addiction is threatening their child. From there, Destinations for Teens and the client’s family work hand in hand to support the teen.

Family therapy is an area where both the client and their family can start to heal from the mental health disorder and/or addiction present in the household. The teenager expresses their struggles and experiences as their family listens and understands. This then occurs vice versa, where the teen can grasp an understanding of how their challenges impact their family. Forgiveness and progress are greatly valued in this therapeutic setting.

Specifically, family therapy at Destinations for Teens for mental health treatment teaches the family how to resolve conflicts, develop better communication, and learn healthy problem-solving techniques. Often, the therapist will provide “homework” to improve these areas beyond the therapy session. This helps the client and their family put their session progress directly into their lives to make noticeable progress.

Benefits of Family Therapy

There are many objectives or goals to family therapy. Among them are:

  • Turning distrust into reconciliation
  • Finding forgiveness beyond guilt
  • Developing strength over stress
  • Working through frustration to find understanding
  • Turning despair into hope
  • Building support
  • Working through anger to find peace
  • Learning to communicate productively to find agreement through conflict
  • Finding a resolution in crisis situations

Having family support and participating in family therapy also improves the household dynamic. This support can then inspire clients to continue treatment and/or begin to put the progress made in recovery into their daily lives. For instance, this may look like practicing healthy coping mechanisms and healthy communication beyond the session.

Family therapy may also reduce the burden and stress within the family, prevent other family members from destructive habits, improve how the family members treat each other, result in positive behavioral changes in the teen, and how each family member works to connect with others. This can then extend into the household beyond the walls of the session. Healthy communication can foster and improve the relationships within the household.

Call Destinations for Teens for Family Therapy Today

Here at Destinations for Teens, we understand and value the importance of family involvement in recovery and healing. For teens struggling with mental health (and/or addiction), family involvement can be done through family therapy. Family therapy at our facility encourages all parties to reach a sense of mutual understanding, listening to each other without judgment in order to understand how the entire household is affected by the disorder(s) at hand. This involvement can help inspire hope and progress in the client’s recovery and healing, especially since family is often the nucleus of one’s social life at this young age. To learn more about family involvement and family therapy, please call us at (866) 678-8123.