Updated October 13, 2020

Treating Substance Use Disorders with a Family Systems Approach

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Treating Substance Use Disorders with a Family Systems Approach essay
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The family systems approach is a counseling approach that has eight interlocking concepts and is based on the assumption that members in a family system have emotional relationships (Bacon, 2019). This approach uses this basis to solve problems affecting one member of the family. Due to the role and shared environment/aspects of the family system, some of the triggers of substance abuse may emanate from the family setting.

This means that one problem affecting one member of the family will likely affect other family members (Bacon, 2019). Involving the family in addressing substance use disorder for one of the members will promote the overall health of the entire family as well as address some of the risk factors at the family level. This approach will help family members make specific and positive changes to improve the home environment as well as heal broken relationships within the family unit that may have contributed to substance abuse of one of the members (Bacon, 2019). The application of the eight concepts will enable family members to learn how to adjust and provide the required support to one of their loved ones during the recovery process from substance abuse (Ahluwalia, Anand, & Suman, 2018).

This encourages and gives hope to affected individuals, as the family better understands the person in various perspectives. The member is also free to share some of the personal struggles to the family members due to the physical and emotional relationship (Ahluwalia, Anand, & Suman, 2018). Treatment would not be effective if you do not include the family since the healthcare practitioner may not provide all the required support as a family would. This is because the healthcare practitioner would not have adequate time to spend with the affected person to effectively monitor his/her progress and encourage the person during the recovery phase as the healthcare practitioner has more patients to attend to (Lewis, Dana, & Blevins, 2019).


  1. Ahluwalia, H., Anand, T., & Suman, L. N. (2018). Marital and family therapy. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), 501–505. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_19_18
  2. Bacon, M. (2019). Family Therapy and the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders: The family matters model. New York : Routledge.
  3. Lewis, J. A., Dana, R. Q., & Blevins, G. A. (2019). Substance abuse counseling. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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