FIU Goals & Therapeutic Process of Family Therapy with Addicted Families Discussion

After reading chapter 9, please write at least 250 words on one of the following topics:

  1. Identify characteristics of the “addictive family”.
  2. Describe the goals and therapeutic process of family therapy with addicted families
  3. Define the underlying concepts of homeostasis, feedback loops, hierarchy, wholeness, change, and family values that create the framework of family therapy/system theory.

Reply to the following post. 70 words each post.

Post #1

Addictive Family

Characteristics of Addictive Family

Addiction in the family does not only affect the addicted individual but also affects the family wholesomely. The addictive family has special characteristics like negativity, inconsistency from parents, denial from parents, unreachable expectations from parents, anger expressions, and self-medication:

  1. Addictive families communicate negatively with each other by expressing displeasures with each other.
  2. Family members are always complaining about issues and criticize each other’s decisions and logic.
  3. Addictive families have inconsistency from parents that creates confusion in children, and the children cannot determine the behavior and responses of their parents American (Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, 2019).
  4. Parents in families whose children are addicts always tend to be in denial as they do not want to accept that their children are drug addicts.
  5. These families’ members set goals that they may be hard to achieve as they do not believe in themselves.
  6. Members of addictive families talk to each other in an angry tone to express their addictions.

Goals of Family Therapy

The therapeutic process of family addiction treatment places family members as a significant factor in the treatment process. Those addicted and those that are not addicted must work in unison to help each other heal. Family therapy aims to give the family members a platform to express their concerns and feelings about addiction. Additionally, the therapy process aims to offer strategies and skills that will help addicted parties to recover.

Concepts of Family Therapy

The pattern of families to maintain specific stability and structure during the change process is called homeostasis. Homeostasis is maintained and communicated through feedback loops that keep the system going (Szapocznik & Hervis, 2020). Family wholeness is the magnitude of connection and unity that exists in the family. The subsystems, roles, and rules are the values of a family. Lastly, family changes are determined by a change in the behavior of the family members.

Post #2

Homeostasis can be described as the tendency that families have to behave in a specific way to keep the balance, structure, and stability in the face of change. Homeostasis represents a psychological, stable, and comfortable situation for the family. However, homeostasis does not substitute a healthy functioning. If a family member changes, the rest of the family will change as well. When a change occurs, the whole family needs to readjust its system and roles. Families that resistance to change will become rigid and fail into entropy. However, too much flexibility in the family structure will create chaos.

The essence of systems is known as feedback loops. Feedback loops provide the communication needed to maintain homeostasis and the system to continue functioning. The two purposes of the feedback loop are to encourage change and to keep the system balance. The feedback that promotes change is known as positive or reinforcing feedback. Meanwhile, balancing feedback is called negative feedback as it keeps the system balanced.

Hierarchy is the term used to classify the family structure. The structure is based on the roles, rules, and abilities that each member of the family has, according to their cultural influence. The wholeness concept states that we need to see systems as a whole, instead of focusing on each part separately. Emergent properties are also part of this theory. Emergent properties represent that behavior that a person may show as a family member but not has itself. Family rules applied in some situations and society rules in others.

The concept of change explains how other parts of the system change if one specific part changes. It is important to remember that change always brings side effects. Values are the foundation of the rules, roles, boundaries, and subsystems in the nuclear family, the origin, and the culture of a family. The importance of values depends on each member of the family.

Post #3

A lot of values and characteristic are shared among addictive families. Secrecy which is the disengagement from the outside is one of them. Denial also happens because families would do whatever it takes to keep addictions as a secret in order to avoid dealing with this issue. This would cause families to readjust and redistribute responsibilities. As a result, dysfunctional behaviors can later arise in children and they can go into society thinking that these behaviors should be accepted just because they are accepted in their home setting.

Hyper vigilance is another important characteristics of these families. A constant state of fear is created by family members because of the uncertainty of when individuals with substance dependence may act out. The ability to express feelings to others may also be lost during this process and can cause harm in children.

Furthermore, shame is common characteristics of addictive families. These families often feel shame and elaborate a mechanism of denying the use of these substances among themselves and the outside world. Children become vulnerable and they may feel guilty because of the blame the user may put on them or any other member of the family. This shame may make individuals feel worthless and affect their self-esteem.

Another important aspects associated with addictive families are abuse, incest and violence. These behaviors are often justified because of secrecy and shame by the individual. All of these characteristics and behaviors are taken into consideration by family members when keeping substance abuse of someone in the family as a secret.

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