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Family Therapy Services

Many factors contribute to the development of mental health disorders and addiction. Therapy is rarely a solo journey that’s strictly between a patient and their therapist. Our family therapy services at Fifth Avenue Psychiatry emphasize the importance of having support during treatment for addiction and recognizing that everyone in the client’s home can play a role in recovery.

What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy takes place in a group setting, with a professional leading the sessions and family members participating. Oftentimes, family therapy helps get to the bottom of ongoing problems in the home, such as arguments, rebellion, and overall frustration.

At Fifth Avenue Psychiatry, our family therapy specializes in treating addiction among family members. Led by one of our expert doctors, each session will allow family members to speak and work through conflict as the family better understands the impact of the addiction and the unique roles they may be playing in it.

Why is Family Therapy Important in Addiction Recovery?

Many healthcare professionals stand by the saying, “Addiction is a family disease,” as do we. Much research has been done on the correlations between a family member with an addiction and how this exposure increases the risk of addiction for other people in the household. For example, studies show that children who are exposed to a parent with a substance use disorder are more likely to develop symptoms themselves.

Addiction affects the entire family, not just the user. Because of this, it’s important that everyone is involved in recovery through therapy sessions. During these sessions, the leading doctor can identify enabling behaviors and other harmful patterns that have contributed to the addiction, as well as allow loved ones to share how the addiction has impacted them. This not only brings the addiction’s harmful effects to light for the addict but also helps everyone get on the same page to help with a successful recovery.

Who Leads Family Therapy?

Family therapy sessions are led by one of our licensed clinical psychologists with many years of experience in the field of addiction treatment.

Family Therapy Services at Fifth Avenue Psychiatry

Our team is dedicated to helping you or your loved one overcome the devastations of addiction. If you’re here reading this today, know there’s hope for a future and that help is available. Please contact us today if you’re ready to take the next step in recovery. One of our team members can assist you with getting started and identifying the best treatment path.


Structural family therapy (SFT) is a common approach used in the professional setting. SFT looks at the interactions between family members and how these interactions mold the overall structure and dynamic of the family. This is especially important in addiction recovery as many family members take on a harmful role, such as an enabler, without even realizing it.

Family therapy will likely look different each session. The therapists will want to learn and understand the concerns of each member. They will encourage everyone to speak their concerns and viewpoints aloud and allow them to be heard uninterrupted. Along with giving the members opportunities to speak, the therapist will educate everyone on addiction patterns and family roles and provide possible reasons as to why certain thoughts or behaviors occurred.

Group therapy consists of individuals who are not related to one another and are likely meeting each other for the first time. These individuals may be strangers, but they all have a common recovery goal as well as similar struggles depending on the type of group therapy (a substance recovery group, gambling addiction, codependency, etc.) Family therapy is solely for relatives, usually living in the same household, who are all being affected by each other’s actions and behaviors.

The enabler is the individual who tries to keep the family “functioning”, not realizing the negative results of these actions. They typically take on the addict’s problems and responsibilities, sometimes having a caretaker role as well. The problem with this is that they are removing the addict’s accountability and supporting the bad behavior instead of setting up boundaries against it. Along with supporting the addict, the enabler may also encourage everyone else’s roles in the addiction without realizing it.

In family therapy, an intervention is used to give each family member a platform to speak their thoughts and feelings about the addict’s behaviors and encourage them to seek professional help. Interventions are led by a professional interventionist who can facilitate the sessions without having any biases. At the end of an intervention, the addict is given a choice to either agree to treatment, whether this be accepting and adhering to a treatment plan, or to accept the strict boundaries of their family if they don’t go. This may include detachment from the family, cutting off funds that may be subsidizing addiction, withdrawal of emotional support, or even loss of domicile.