Why We Focus on Families

Why We Focus on Families

At Solstice, treating the family unit is crucial for the healing process, and long term stability. While it may sound nice at the surface that families are the focus, it can actually be quite scary and even feel invasive. But walking through this vulnerable process is essential if you actually want to see lasting change. The psychosocial environment, i.e. the home life, support system, work environment, or general stability of everyone involved, is one of the biggest risk factors for recovery. Meaning, the psychosocial environment can be the primary barrier to someone improving. The support system’s influence is powerful and should not be underestimated.

Solstice specifically requires family involvement for 3 primary reasons:  

1. Everyone plays a role 

The family unit is like a symphony . . . if any one instrument or part is off, it affects the whole piece. Families are always seeking homeostasis or balance in some way. When one family member struggles in some way, other family members easily step into dysfunctional family roles as an attempt to find balance.  And as a result, chaos, frustration, codependency, resentment, or passive aggressiveness ensues. So even if it started with “one dysfunctional family member”, every other member also began to play a role in the dysfunction. It’s a  natural and expected response, but it is not healthy. For this reason, only focusing on one person in the treatment process avoids addressing the bigger, fuller picture. This is true at any age. And this is one of the primary reasons that someone may eventually relapse or regress. 

While each family member plays a role in the dysfunction, the good news is that every family member also gets to play a role in the healing! Everyone gets to learn skills and contribute to positive change. 

2. Family provides accountability

Accountability means to hold you to your commitment or to your word. In the treatment setting, it means to help you stay consistent when you want to quit or abandon your treatment. Accountability can feel like a dirty word at times but it is a key element to sticking through difficult change. Change in habits or routines can feel quite painful, especially if addiction or mood disorder is taking place. Resistance to the process naturally results, especially in the beginning. The support system is one of the primary tools in helping provide accountability and reinforcements for this resistance. This ultimately helps you or the patient finish strong and learn life-giving and life-long skills.

3. Healing requires community

Suffering is isolating. To shun yourself from the world when you are wrestling with despair, grief, fear, or shame is tempting. But this only worsens your emotional state. The reality is, you don’t have to ensure this alone. Your support system is a tool for you to fight against the isolation and break through the negative voice spiraling in your mind. Humans are meant for community and connection. Involving your safe and healthy family members is life-changing for your growth process. 

No family is perfect. But at Solstice, we will help you work towards healthier family dynamics through offering education, skills, and resources. This includes helping your family define expectations, practice appropriate boundaries, build healthy connections, and establish new habits together.  We want to help you be a positive support, rather than a barrier to progress. 

We have a few ways that we involve families at Solstice:
  1. Family Intensive - A workshop to prepare families for successful treatment with specific skills relating to codependency, boundaries, needs, self-efficacy, and protecting fun and joy. 
  2. Empower families to seek and do their own work (such as counseling or therapy) alongside their loved one.
  3. Family homework or skills to practice between sessions
  4. Provide honest feedback to loved ones on their role (positive or negative) in their loved one’s life

Depending on your circumstance, your treatment plan may include setting boundaries from unhealthy family members who are not safe or who are unwilling to change. 

Regardless, the family unit matters and impacts every individual (positively or negatively). Having a care team who understands this and helps you walk through your family dynamics is paramount in your lifelong journey.

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