Teen past behaviors have hurt others. Their past actions have had unintended consequences and trauma on families. Family members often have tremendous pain, fear, and frustration while dealing with loved one’s acting out. There is frequent stress to the breaking point causing loss of trust and damage to the relationship. Family therapy with a trained therapist will help your family discuss issues and concerns and help you to rebuild your family relationships.
There are four things family members can do to support the recovery process:
- Parents and family can help by getting educated about the addictive system and by getting personally involved.
- The family can help by creating a safe home environment. This can include the use of Internet accountability support such as Covenant Eyes or others.
- Parents can help reduce the stress of treatment by taking the teen to their therapist or meeting with a mentor. Taking care of these details helps the teen feel more supported and able to focus more on treatment.
- The family can take immediate action if they see a relapse happening or about to happen.
Support by family members is important. Family therapy can also serve to identify and bring out in to the open unhealthy behavior. For example, parents becoming overly focused on the struggling teen and neglecting other siblings. In therapy, parents learn to focus on what they can control, and then they learn how best to support all of the family.
Families have an opportunity to examine other underlying issues within the family contributing to their teen’s struggle. This can include: family roles, excessive stress, overly high expectations, any trauma or abuse, being inflexible, or other family members with an addiction. The purpose here is greater understanding, compassion, and the potential to make constructive changes for all family members.
Having the family actively involved in the recovery process is important for the family to heal. Families need to learn certain skills too that help with recovery. See some suggestions below:
- Reach out and connect with helpful resources—family counseling and a support group. (be sure to stay in counseling even though it will take time)
- Get trustworthy information on addiction from professionals who are trained in porn/sex addiction
- Understand how this problem distresses and impacts the entire family
- Learn communication and behavior skills that help, such as assertiveness, limit setting, and conflict resolution
- Stop any enabling, denial and minimizing “the problem”
- Learn to disengage from disagreements with love, and refocus on solutions
- Have courage to act when you need to and to know when to back off
- Support and protect children
- Develop strategies for dealing with relapse and other potential setbacks
- Rediscover personal and family strengths
- Seek spiritual help and strength
- Do individual and family activities that are a source of fulfillment and enjoyment
Families are strengthened when they do things together and have some of the same goals. By doing so, they can cope better with challenges. Family therapy is one way to bring the family together to be the healthiest it has ever been.
If your therapist cannot meet all the needs of your family, he or she will work with you to find resources that will. For example, sexual recovery therapists (SRTs) and certified sexual addiction therapists (CSATs) are trained to help families, offer them information on nearby services, give out recovery literature and make recommendations on where to find help.