Therapy for Families of Drug Addicts

What is the importance of therapy for families of drug addicts?

First, it is the family that often recognizes the problem before their addicted loved one is ready to acknowledge or get help for his or her addiction. Secondly, chances for sustained recovery increase dramatically when families are involved, as addiction reaches far beyond the individual.

There are two basic types of therapy for families of drug addicts: family education and family-involved therapy. Most substance abuse treatment programs perceive the importance of educating families of drug addicts on what addiction is. It is important for the loved ones of the addict to understand that addiction is not merely an issue of willpower; it is a brain disease that affects addicts in such a way that they are unable to stop using drugs despite negative, even devastating consequences, and despite them having the desire to stop.

Educational therapy for families of drug addicts

In educational therapy for families of drug addicts, families identify the ways in which addiction has affected the family relationships and are introduced to resources that can lend support while their addicted loved one undergoes individual treatment. There are support groups such as Al-Anon, Alateen, and Families Anonymous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence provide information, assistance, and access to publications regarding drug abuse.

Family therapy for families of drug addicts

Family therapy is therapy for families of drug addicts that involves a collection of therapeutic approaches. The purpose of therapy for families of drug addicts is two-fold: first, it seeks to use the family’s strengths and resources to help find or develop ways to live without substances of abuse. Second, it diminishes the impact of drug dependency on both the addict and his or her family.

In family therapy, the goal of treatment is to meet the needs of all family members. Therapy for families of drug addicts addresses the interdependent nature of family relationships and how these relationships serve the addict and other family members, in both positive and negative ways.

The foundation of therapy for families of drug addicts is the belief in family‐level assessment and intervention. In addressing therapy for families of drug addicts, it is key to recognize that a family is a system, and in any system each part is related to all other parts. Accordingly, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes in all other parts. The focus of therapy for families of drug addicts is to intervene in these complex relational patterns, the family unit and its interrelationships, and to alter them in ways that bring about productive change for the entire family. Therapy for families of drug addicts rests on the systems perspective. As such, changes in one part of the system can and do produce changes in other parts of the system, and these changes can contribute to either problems or solutions.


Therapy for families of drug addicts addresses a range of influences on the addict’s drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning. In this way, therapy for families of drug addicts serves as a crucial support to the success of their loved one’s recovery.




History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., was born in Pittsburgh, PA on September 27, 1913 and was raised in New York City. He held an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Albert Ellis held many important psychological positions that included: Chief psychologist of the State of New Jersey and professorships at Rutgers and other universities. More importantly, Albert Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now popular Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT).

In 1954, Ellis began teaching his new techniques to other therapists, and by 1957, he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as the treatment for emotional and behavioral problems. Two years later, Ellis published ‘How to Live with a Neurotic’, which elaborated on his new method.

Albert Ellis established the Albert Ellis Institute in 1959. The Albert Ellis Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission was to promote Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as a educative and preventative theory. The Albert Ellis Institute promoted Rational Behavioral Therapy’s practice and theory through training professionals and the public. Initially Albert Ellis ran everything from his own private practice as a psychologist. Then Albert Ellis purchased a six story townhouse in Manhattan in 1964. He took that town house that had previously been occupied by The Woodrow Wilson Institute and used it for his work. Albert Ellis donated the earnings of his books to purchase the building and to fund the running costs of the Institute.

Albert Ellis practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling as well as sex therapy for over sixty years at the Psychological Center of the Institute in New York. Albert Ellis also served as president of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He also served as officer of several profession societies including the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy, the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Albert Ellis was ranked one of the most influential psychologists by both American and Canadian psychologists and counselors. He also served as consulting or associate editor of many scientific journals. He published more than eight hundred scientific papers and more than two hundred audio and video cassettes. 

During his final years he collaborated with Michael S. Abrams, Ph.D., on his only college textbook Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives. Albert Ellis also wrote an autobiography entitled “All Out!” published by Prometheus Books in June 2010. The book was dedicated to and contributed by his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis who Ellis described as “The greatest love of my whole life, my whole life”. He also entrusted the legacy of REBT to her. In early 2011, the book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by Dr. Albert Ellis and his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis was released by the American Psychological Association. The book explains the essentials of the theory of REBT and is considered an excellent basic guide in understanding the REBT approach for students and practitioners of psychology as well as for the general public.


Marriage Therapy

Marriage Therapy

What is marriage therapy?

Marriage therapy or marriage counseling is also known as couple’s therapy. Marriage therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps couples of all types resolve conflict and improve their relationships. Through marriage therapy, couples can make thoughtful decision about either rebuilding their relationship or going their separate ways.

Marriage therapy is usually short term. It usually includes both partners in the relationship but sometimes one partner can choose to work with a therapist alone. Marriage therapy is provided by licensed therapists. Marriage therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees-and most of them choose to become credentialed by the AAMFT or American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Why would someone need marriage therapy?

Marriage therapy helps all couples in all types of intimate relationships-that means heterosexual, homosexual, married or not. Some couples want to get marriage therapy in order to strengthen their bond within the relationship while also gaining better understanding of each other. Other couples use marriage therapy if they are planning to get married. Pre-marriage therapy can help a couple achieve a deeper understanding of each other and fix any problems or work out any disagreements before marriage.

In other cases, couples go to marriage therapy to improve a troubled relationship. This is the kind of marriage therapy that is most often talked about. Marriage therapy can be used to address multiple different issues within the relationship-such as:

  • Communication problems
  • Conflicts about raising children
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Anger
  • Infidelity
  • Divorce

In some instance marriage therapy can be extremely helpful in cases which involve domestic abuse. If domestic violence has escalated to the point of one partner being afraid then it is best they seek out help from law enforcement not just a marriage therapist.

How to prepare for marriage therapy and what to expect from marriage therapy

The only thing a couple needs to do to prepare for marriage therapy is to find the right marriage therapist for them. Primary care doctors can sometimes give good referrals. Asking loved ones or friends may also be a good idea for couples seeking a marriage therapist. Health insurance companies, employee assistance programs, clergy, state and local mental health agencies may also have some good referrals to marriage therapists.

Most couples can expect marriage therapy to have sessions that include both partners. While working with a marriage therapist couples will learn skills to solidify their relationship. Skills that include, communicating openly, solving problems together and discussing differences in a rational way. Marriage therapy also includes analyzing both the good and bad parts of the relationship so a couple can better understand where their conflict is coming from.

Marriage therapy session can sometimes include uncomfortable silence, fights, arguing, yelling and that is ok. The marriage therapist is meant to be in the sessions also as a mediator.

Marriage therapy is most commonly short term. The specific plan of marriage therapy is unique to each couple and their special needs in their relationship. Marriage therapy can help couples discover that their differences cannot be reconciled and it may be best to end the relationship or that they can work through it and become stronger together.

If one of the partners is suffering from substance abuse or mental illness, the marriage therapist may work with other health care providers to give full treatment to both individuals in the relationship.

Regardless if one or both partners are willing to go to marriage therapy or the individuals are married, it can be beneficial to go to marriage therapy just so each person can learn more about their reactions and behavior in the relationship.