Mental health and substance use disorders do not just affect the individual who experiences symptoms; they affect the whole family. In some cases, these disorders can lead to stress, strain, hurt feelings, guilt or mistrust. As such, it is not just the individual who needs healing—but also the whole family.
That is why family participation is such an integral part of the recovery process. Indeed, WestBridge strongly advocates for family-based recovery, as we believe that there is much for family members to gain by being active in the recovery of their loved one.
One of those things is education. By being involved in the recovery process, family members can get a more accurate sense of the diagnosis—learning how a disorder of the brain has affected their loved one and his behavior. This in itself can be freeing, expediting the healing process, as you realize that things you may have thought were personal affronts were actually symptoms of a disease.
More broadly, family members will gain insight into how they can cope with the difficulties of being mental health care or support givers. The family recovery process will provide them with specific ways to help their loved one while also addressing their own stress, worry or anxiety.
More than anything, family-based recovery helps all involved to see more clearly the gift that family can be—a built-in support structure, a group of people to lean on and talk openly with about mental health issues. Facilitating this open, transparent communication helps the members of a family learn how to love one another fearlessly, with real compassion and empathy.
Those are just some of the reasons to pursue a family-based approach to healing—but here is a final one: Everyone is worthy of it. Everyone who is touched by mental health disorders deserves a chance to be healed and whole.
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