“Wo. You will be hearing a lot of anger today. Is there a chance that people will scream and fight?” Actually the couple I met in couple’s counseling, and their extended family were gentle folk.
Surprised, I realized the necessity for educating people on family intervention. By the time someone develops an addiction, many family patterns have been at play for years. Gathering the siblings, parents, children, and extended family is often a precious gift to everyone included! Of course, violent members cannot be invited. The family interventions I do are for families with emotional issues. All families have emotional issues. Addiction is the sign of emotional issue in need of loving help! Sometimes people call for couples’ counseling when addiction recovery is a necessary first step.
Family intervention is conducted as a deeply loving time to share openly, help one another heal, expose the wounds, thus begin to change the patterns.
The idea in family intervention is that the person who has been struggling with addiction alone, now feels befriended, loved and supported. Everything is brought out in the open. The person with the addiction begins to see the necessity of getting help. Often this inspires others in the family group to get help for their own issues. Every person on the planet has issues so this is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Having problems and getting help is a normal part of being alive! It’s how we learn.
Last time I conducted a family intervention for a couple who had attended couples therapy, tears of love, and words of gratitude were shared.
Having the extended family gather lead to immense changes. The meeting for ten ended up helping two people to enter recovery programs. Everyone in the room benefited.
When a child or spouse calls out to an extended family for help, praise them for their courage! Offer compassion. Nobody suffers more than the children and spouse of an addict from what I have seen. The best way to harm the one suffering from addiction and spouse is to blame the spouse and ignore the one with the addiction. Families who respond with an attitude of “it’s your problem not ours” helped create the addiction and are only enforcing it. Now, more parties are harmed. Unfortunately I have been witness to these kind of situation. The long term effects can be tragic. Spouses feel isolated, humiliated and deeply heartbroken from running into people with addictions unknowingly. If you are a spouse or child in this situation, seek help. When families cause more harm, a good counselor can assist. I have helped spouses to regain self-esteem and joy while starting new lives.
If someone in your family is suffering from addiction, or if a spouse or child has told you someone is, consider family intervention. No person can heal alone. The animals are often the ones who sit by people in times of trouble. As an animal intuitive I learned a lot about intervention. Animals forever approach their people with unconditional love while nudging them to make changes to love themselves and others more.
They have taught me to better help my clients as a counselor.
Read more posts by Laurie Moore, LMFT, CHT, PhD here.
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