Home » Counselor Intern » LCDC Exam 2014 » 8 Practice Domains » 5. Counseling – Part III Family and Significant Others Counseling

5. Counseling – Part III Family and Significant Others Counseling

This is third component of the 5th practice domain: Counseling. (check out Part I Individual Counseling and Part II Group Counseling)

Addictions affect the person who has them and also her/his family members and significant others. Counseling addicted families should be required, and offered, as part of every treatment service. Unfortunately, some treatment agencies can only afford treating the person with the addiction, and due to lack of resources and funding they cannot get the family and significant others involved.

Regardless for this situation, substance abuse counselors can offer a competent practice when they have the following knowledge:

  • Systems theory and dynamics.
  • Dynamics associated with substance use, abuse, dependence, and recovery in families and significant others.
  • Interaction patterns on substance abuse behaviors.
  • Cultural factors associated with family dynamics and substance abuse disorders.
  • Signs and patterns of domestic violence.

Although it is difficult to accept sometimes, the truth is that family members contribute in different ways to the substance abuse behavior. It is not about putting the blame on someone, but inevitably each member of a family plays a specific role in a family’s issue; understanding family dynamics helps us understand why addiction is called a family disease.

As I mentioned in a previous post, in family counseling the client is the family as a whole, always considering individual differences. The required experience an addictions counselor must have in this area includes:

  • Models of diagnosis for families
  • Intervention strategies appropriate for different stages of the problem.
  • Intervention strategies for violence within the family.
  • Laws and resources regarding violence within the family.
  • Methods for engaging family members and significant others in the treatment and recovery processes.
  • Confidentiality and regulations regarding family counseling.

Our goals in family counseling are:

  • To help families and significant others understand the effect of their interactions on substance use.
  • To assist them in identifying and stopping harmful patterns of interaction.
  • To help them learn healthy strategies and behaviors that maintain recovery and promote healthy relationships.
  • To assist them with referral to appropriate support resources.

Dysfunctional Family Roles

TAP 21

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