Substance dependency and the family : an exploration of the efficacy of systemic family therapy and integrative approaches to treatment

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Harrison, Nicola
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This paper aims to explore the use of systemic family therapy in the treatment of substance dependency. The impact that substance misuse has on the extended family’s physical, emotional and psychological well-being emphasises the importance of including the family in the treatment of the identified substance misuser. From an Irish context, there is little to no research on the impact of a family member’s substance dependency on the extended family. Research on the use of family therapies and integrated approaches to the treatment of substance dependency in Ireland is also limited to non-existent. International research suggests that the efficacy of Systemic Family Therapy in the treatment of substance dependency is high. However, the research that supports the use of systemic therapy is limited and not very representative. Integrative approaches incorporating models from the fields of Family Therapy and Substance Dependency Treatment also showed a positive outcome in the treatment of family’s and the identified substance dependent family members. However, there is also a need for further research in this area. Author keywords: Substance misuse, the family, systemic family therapy, integrative approaches to treatment