Family Recovery Centers: Addiction Therapy Options for Those with Children

Last Updated: October 18, 2021

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Drug addiction and alcoholism traumatize the entire family, and trauma can affect an individual for a lifetime without intervention through a treatment program. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the genes one is born with may account for about 50% of their risk of developing an addiction. In addition, family members have to deal with great anxiety because they live in an environment marred by manipulation. Sometimes they can even feel like they are losing their sense of self.

The Dynamics of Family Addiction Treatment

Substance abuse in parents leaves a negative experience in their children. Unfortunately, the situation has become so rampant that it has become a norm in many societies, especially in communities with low-income earners. A report by SAMHSA showed that at least 1 in every 8 children within the age range of 17 years and below lives with at least one parent living with a substance abuse disorder.

Drug and alcohol addiction can, and often does, take a toll on those closest to us. This is the case irrespective of the number of individuals in the family suffering from addiction. In an effort to cope, families will start hiding the truth from others or lapse into denial of the problem. As a result, genuine connections are lost, unpleasant conversations are avoided, and our loved ones suffer from feelings of intense shame and guilt. These coping mechanisms are among the main obstacles that family addiction treatment faces.

A parent may find it hard to own up to their addiction and seek help because of the stigma and possibility of losing custody of their children. All states in the US have child protection laws that views parental substance use as a form of child abuse. The adoption of children into out-of-home care due to parental substance abuse reportedly increased by 20.4% from the year 2000 to 2019.

However, it was discovered that family support plays an essential role in addiction recovery. There are numerous reports of successful interventions and higher rates of addiction recovery due to the involvement of members of the family in the treatment procedure. The recovery process can be more effective if it includes one or more members of the family. Ultimately, family rehab centers are aimed at building a solid foundation for long-term sobriety.

The Dynamics of Family Addiction Treatment

Top 5 Family Recovery Centers

Some family therapy sessions at rehab facilities include small groups with the recovering addict, his or her parents, or spouse. Other sessions exclude an addicted person because their relatives have issues of their own to resolve and change of their own to make. A professional counselor leads these sessions at the therapy center, and they are always civil and constructive. There are so many family rehab centers to choose from, depending on one’s personal needs.

Here Are Some of the Best Family Rehab Centers Available:

Beachway Therapy Center, West Palm Beach, FL

Beachway Therapy Center, West Palm Beach, FL

The staff of Beachway Therapy Center accepts that recovery cannot be expected unless the patient’s closest relatives are addressed as well. Dealing effectively with addiction is a skill that can be learned and practiced daily, and indeed has to be if one really wants to heal from the trauma of addiction. The treatment program is free for patients’ relatives. Beachway offers everything from partial hospitalization to outpatient services and is able to offer customized treatment plans that meet the medical and clinical needs of each patient. The program duration varies, with most patients staying between 1 and 3 months. The center offers a very low patient-to-therapist ratio and can thus address comorbid conditions, which frequently occur – for example, both drug and alcohol addiction. Help for families is available in a safe, residential-like environment. Among the methods of therapy used are Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Process Group Therapy, and Holistic Therapy.

Familylinks, Pittsburgh, PA

Familylinks, Pittsburgh, PA

Familylinks provides long-term residential treatment for women over 18 and their children. It is one of the women and children centers that help mothers improve their parenting skills, learn recovery skills, become healthier, and preserve or repair family relationships. Women can bring up to two of their children to this rehabilitation center, and women on medication-assisted treatment such as methadone are also welcome. This center, among all other family rehab centers, specializes in comorbid disorders, such as co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues.

It offers onsite child care, private rooms for clients and their children, group therapy once a day, individual therapy once a week, and personalized goal plans. Children play games and attend school if appropriate.

Summer Sky, Stephenville, TX

Summer Sky, Stephenville, TX

Since its inception in 1985, the Texas addiction treatment rehab has tended to the spiritual and psychological needs of more than 2000 patients. The facility is open to male and female patients accompanied by concerned friends, families, and stakeholders. The facility offers evidence-based family recovery programs that are all-inclusive and meet the health demands of patients. Whether it is alcohol or drug addiction, the family recovery center prioritizes the needs of its patients through 24-hour management and an intensive care treatment schedule that expedites the healing process. It is one of the family treatment centers with pet therapy. While many other facilities offer mother and child residential programs, Summer Sky takes into cognizance the fact that pets have a significant effect on their owners. This encourages the initiative of animal-assisted therapy, which is an emerging development in assisted healing. Summer Sky accepts various types of insurance coverage and is always open for admission.

Family Center for Recovery, Lantana, FL

Family Center for Recovery, Lantana, FL

The need to secure the best family recovery center may bring you and your loved one to the family center, which offers a full continuum of care inclusive of intensive inpatient and outpatient programs, partial hospitalization, residential treatment, and transitional living. The family recovery center offers a father, mother, and child residential program that enables members of the family to participate in the treatment and showing support for their loved ones. What makes the family recovery center exceptional? They employ evidence-based practices such as the 12-step program, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Contingency Management, Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), Family Systems Therapy (FST), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Motivational interviewing, and other highly effective, modern practices.

Family Recovery Center, Lisbon, OH

Family Recovery Center, Lisbon, OH

Long-term sobriety is a step that requires the best of preparations. It is important to seek multidisciplinary treatment and solid family and friends’ support. The importance of family treatment centers cannot be overemphasized. The family recovery center Ohio is licensed and accredited to provide treatment to those struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol with possible underlying mental issues. The facility offers clinical services such as recovery housing, outpatient treatment, community-based programs, medication-assisted treatment, and others. Whether group treatment or individual treatment, the facility maintains top-notch services with follow-up services such as relapse prevention and aftercare. The family recovery center caters to people of all ages and gender.

Does My Insurance Cover Addiction Treatment? Read More About Your Health Insurance Options:

Fears and Barriers For Women in Addiction Treatment

In spite of the obvious need for addiction treatment, it is often difficult for women to commit to addiction treatment for a few reasons.

  • Women who are addicted to one substance or the other find it difficult to own up, especially because of the fear of judgment. Women face a higher level of stigmatization in society when they declare an addiction.
  • Women who have children, especially infants, do not want to be separated from their children for extended periods, and this can be a major factor that impedes the decision to seek treatment for addiction.
  • In some cases, women are the sole providers and caregivers for their children. When there isn’t anyone else to take up this responsibility, women with children may be unwilling to seek complete treatment.

Overcoming this fear and emotional difficulty is possible. There is a way that women can get the addiction treatment that they need without having to worry about the welfare of their children. Women and children centers are available for the sole purpose of providing a flexible system where mothers who have addictions can have full access to their kids. Medical experts have emphasized the effectiveness and benefits of children’s participating in the recovery of the mothers. Some of these children may have experienced trauma due to the addiction of their mothers and are only too eager to participate in the recovery process and providing support to ensure that their mothers complete treatment and achieve sobriety.

There are ways that a mother can plan better for a family recovery program. The best option would be to search for women and children centers that accommodate family members during the treatment stages. An alternative would be to find a caregiver that can provide and care for the children in one’s absence. It would help to contact the school, family hospital, and family court to openly introduce the new caretaker as an interim parent to avoid complications.

Fears and Barriers For Women in Addiction Treatment.

Structure of the Family Rehabilitation Center Therapy

Family therapy sessions are not like family gatherings – they follow a set structure: 

  • In the beginning, a person with substance use disorder meets with a counselor to discuss their history of abuse and its effect on the ones closest to them.
  • In some cases, treatment is entered into after a formal intervention, where family members describe their impressions of the addiction and how it has affected them.
  • They also describe the intervention in the first therapy session, which serves to give the therapist a solid grasp of the major players within the respective framework and their role in the addict’s life. The therapist will sometimes offer family counseling as well.
Structure of the Family Rehabilitation Center Therapy

Things to Know Before Starting Family Rehab

The first obstacle is keeping the client in treatment. Most people suffering from substance use disorder coming into treatment wish to leave it prematurely. This happens most frequently in the first few days when an addicted person is undergoing detox, and this is causing discomfort in the household. It is at this point that professional intervention is most crucial. The patient’s family must be strong enough to say no to them when they demand to come home. This can mean desperate measures, such as cutting access off to funds and refusing to take the patient’s phone calls. Another hurdle involves the counselor himself – some rehab centers do not offer family counseling.

Here Are Some Things a Patient and His or Her Loved Ones Need to Know Before Signing up for Treatment:

  • What is the counselor’s experience with this type of problem?
  • Is the counselor licensed by the state?
  • Is the center available in an emergency?
  • How much will therapy cost?
  • Is the counselor accredited by a professional therapy organization?
  • Does the family rehabilitation center accept insurance payments?

How to Care About Loved Ones While Staying at Rehab?

The worries of leaving loved ones behind and uncared for can be overwhelming and can impede one’s plan to get help for addiction. These obstacles can be removed with better planning. The best way to ensure that one’s children are well catered for in the absence of a parent is to leave the child in the care of someone close to the family either by blood or by an acquaintance. Pets are also in this category as well.

A parent who wishes to seek intensive treatment for a period of time at a rehab facility may temporarily relinquish guardianship of his or her children or pets to a spouse, parents, significant other, close friends, or siblings. In the situation that none of these individuals are available or willing to take up the responsibility of guardian, other viable options may include daytime child care services, childcare services that are affiliated with the rehab facility.

How to Care About Loved Ones While Staying at Rehab

Forms of Family Addiction Treatment

There is a wide variety of family therapy forms, which are based on four salient models according to data of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Four Models are as follows:

  • The systems model: According to this paradigm, families tend to become pathologically organized around the notion of substance abuse. As a result, they unknowingly lock the suffering member into addiction, and this continues until the organization changes. The disposition of the family only makes the individual with substance abuse problems even more antagonistic and unable to express themselves in a healthy way. A therapist would try to break the existing communication pattern to build a more stable and open form of expression.
  • The disease model: According to this model, the entire family needs to change in order to stop the addiction process because substance abuse impacts every member. In this model, family members develop codependency with the drug user, which leads to enabling behaviors.
  • The multidimensional model: finds that families are far from the only factor in the addiction process and takes into account outside pressures such as school, work, and society in general. This model integrates environmental and behavioral impacts and not just the typical family approach.
  • Cognitive-behavioral model: Finally, proponents of the cognitive-behavioral model believe that dysfunctional interaction between relatives, poor or non-existent problem-solving skills, and poor communication all reinforce substance use and abuse to an equal extent. The model aims to change the mode of interaction and inappropriate behaviors that may trigger or encourage substance abuse.

Consequences of Untreated Addiction

When facing a problem as complicated as drug or alcohol addiction, the seemingly logical decision to do without therapy may be taken. However, this is the worst decision people can make because untreated addiction has dire consequences. These affect the younger family members the most. For example, children of people with SUD can develop a general sense of anxiety, depression, emotional constriction, traumatic bonding, and loss of trust. Children who are forced to make sense of the frightening experience of dealing with a parent or sibling’s addiction will develop a distorted reasoning system as adults. Breakdowns in primary relationships, such as between a parent struggling with the addict and a child, will cause the child to lose trust in people.

Perhaps the most severe consequence, however, is that the child will replicate the behavior he or she has observed in the home and begin abusing drugs or alcohol. He or she may also engage in other high-risk behaviors, such as sex, reckless driving, fighting, out-of-control spending, and the desire to self-medicate as a means of dealing with pain.

Family Addiction Treatment – Dare to Have Hope

While individual addiction counseling sessions focus on the client’s addiction and how to control it effectively, the therapy sessions for relatives will focus on the dynamic relationships between everyone involved. Here, the focus is less on the individual and more on the system. For instance, the counselor and client might discuss how stress at the workplace tends to increase cravings for alcohol or drugs. In family therapy sessions, a topic of discussion could be how stress at the workplace spills over into the home, making the whole family feel angry or insecure and causing even more stress.

A family is like a cobweb – touching one string resonates throughout, making the whole web ripple. Bringing this interdependence to the attention of clients and their relatives can foster appreciation rather than fear of the complexity of addiction, invariably leading to the desired treatment outcome.

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Page Sources

  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2004). Substance abuse treatment and family therapy.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64269/#A70450
  2. Jackson, V. (2004). Residential treatment for parents and their children: The village experience. Science & practice perspectives, 2(2), 44.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851019/
  3. Lipari, R. N., & Van Horn, S. L. (2017). Children living with parents who have a substance use disorder. The CBHSQ report.https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3223/ShortReport-3223.html
  4. Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/parentalsubstanceuse.pdf
  5. National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/research/child-welfare-and-treatment-statistics.aspx
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/international/abstracts/family-support-intervention-strategy-in-drug-addiction-recovery
  7. Bevilacqua, L., & Goldman, D. (2009). Genes and addictions. Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 85(4), 359. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2715956/

Published on: May 3rd, 2018

Updated on: October 18th, 2021

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.