Family Therapy and Support

One of the continued tenets of treatment at The Verve is the importance of a strong support network – and helping clients manage and nurture their strongest support network right at home. For clients with supportive families, family therapy and group counseling can be incredible tools to further strengthen familial bonds, offer important psychoeducation to your loved ones, and work through issues that can only be addressed through family conversations, rather than peer-to-peer therapy.

For clients without supportive families, family therapy can be a chance to tackle some of the differences and problems between family members, and potentially turn the irreconcilable into a chance for mutual respect.

We find that families are often a client’s most influential and powerful therapists, no matter how often someone seeks treatment.

Here at The Verve, we offer different forms of family therapy and family counseling to help clients turn their at-home support network into a crucial part of the recovery process.


Family therapy aims to achieve multiple things, depending on the existing dynamics within a family: help a target client forge a better or healthier bond with their family members, address interpersonal issues and communication problems at home, teach family members about mental health problems and treatment plans, provide homework for families to work on together, and help a family pull together as a support network for one another.

Family therapy programs are based on the family systems theory, which posits that changes in a family member may influence or lead to changes in other family members.

It further emphasizes that a family consists of subsystems and nested hierarchies – rather than a single structure, a family is made up of the individual relationships between each pair or group of two, three, four, or more people.

In other words, a two-child nuclear family is not just the relationships between mom, dad, daughter, and son – it consists of the relationships between the parents, the siblings, mom and son, mom and daughter, dad and son, dad and daughter, dad and the siblings, mom and the siblings, etc.

Why does this matter? Because each of these relationships can have an impact on the client, and may contribute positively or negatively to their treatment – as well as each individual’s mental health and development within the family dynamic.

Addressing the delicate nature of each relationship is difficult, which is why the framework for family therapy programs aim to provide a clinical approach to addressing complex interpersonal issues one step at a time. The eight working elements of family systems therapy, as defined by Murray Bowen, include:

  1. Triangles – the three-person system that family therapy is rooted in.
  2. Multigenerational transmission process – the concept that an individual’s differentiation of self attracts partners with similar levels of differentiation.
  3. Family projection process – the concept that parents transmit their problems to their children.
  4. Differentiation of the self – the level to which each individual in a large family can maintain their individuality, or rely on others for validation.
  5. Nuclear family emotional process – the framework for how nuclear families tend to operate when faced with specific challenges, such as divorce, a sick child, a disabled spouse, etc.
  6. Emotional cutoff – the concept that, due to the complex interpersonal relationships within larger families, it is common for family members to cut themselves off from the group when they’ve had enough, placing greater stress on the family as a whole.
  7. Sibling position – the concept that birth order plays a role in parental expectations, sibling dynamics, and the way parents discipline their children (i.e., the responsibilities weighing on the eldest, the forgotten middle child, the favored youngest).
  8. Societal emotional process – the concept that things that can affect familial ties can translate into societal change, as well.

A common misunderstanding is assuming that family therapy exists primarily for the benefit of the client. While they do benefit, family counseling or family therapy aims to address the overarching family dynamics in a client’s home, to the benefit of the whole household.

A common misunderstanding is assuming that family therapy exists primarily for the benefit of the client. While they do benefit, family counseling or family therapy aims to address the overarching family dynamics in a client’s home, to the benefit of the whole household.



Family psychoeducation is another form of family support that we focus on at The Verve. We find that the treatment process only starts with professional care – and continues at home, throughout long-term recovery.

As such, families and friends must arm themselves with knowledge about their loved one’s condition and treatment, to better understand how and why their therapy works, what to avoid, and how to support them in times of acute stress.

Also known as therapeutic education, family psychoeducation sessions involve a structured learning plan that helps familiarize family members or friends with core concepts such as:

  • Addressing negative feelings and stigma at home or within the family.
  • Discussing medication and treatment management.
  • Exploring the family’s expectations of treatment.
  • Encouraging family members to expand their own support networks, and pursue healthy coping skills.
  • Discuss a crisis plan for a relapse or acute episode.
  • Provide access to local resources, support groups, community programs, and more.

Rather than provide dry lectures, the idea behind psychoeducation is to work on improving a family or friend group’s cohesion with the client’s needs, as well as their own interpersonal needs. Some forms of psychotherapy may also involve multi-family group meetings, where single families come together to learn more on a larger scale, to forge bonds with other families and make new acquaintances.


Here at The Verve, we find that being support-centric is important, especially for families and friend groups. Individualized treatment plays a crucial role in our holistic treatment plans, but we never underestimate nor undervalue the role of the community, on all levels – from the home to society at large. We also help clients who struggle to fit in with their loved ones find ways to improve their interpersonal skills.

If you or a loved one are struggling mentally, we encourage you to give us a call at (202) 816-6006 or sending us a message via our contact form.

Recovery from addiction, mental health needs, or whatever life may throw our way, takes more than just a fresh start.

It takes a dedicated support team, a robust recovery community, and a tailored therapeutic program to help you realize your potential. The Verve IOP is here to help you, your family, and your entire recovery support team navigate the road ahead, together.

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