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Family Influences and Dynamics

While there is no single definition of “family,” most counselors will work with client families that fit—clearly or loosely—into one of three categories: traditional, extended or chosen. Regardless of the family structure or description, all family types share a common trait: Members are bound by enduring psychological ties to each other. Counselors should consider a client’s “family” to be anyone who fits that description, and is an integral part of the “inner circle” of a client’s life. These would include both past and present family members.

Over time, families develop patterns of behaviors, interactions, and communication among members, often accompanied by general “roles” each individual adopts in the system. Understanding how a system functions and the roles of members is paramount to effective addiction treatment, and to facilitating the process of change. While availability of families to participate in addiction recovery is not always an option, it is helpful to understand the client within the context of his or her family system, the past and present adaptations in the system, and the system’s overall readiness for change.

In this Discussion, you will analyze some of the key impacts of family systems roles and dynamics on the development and treatment of addiction, as well as the unique ethical and legal considerations that arise in working with families in treatment.

Post by Day 4 a description of two ways that family roles and dynamics interact with addiction. Then, identify at least one unique characteristic within families of clients with addiction problems. Lastly, describe one ethical or legal concern related to counseling families with addiction diagnoses. Include specific examples to illustrate your points.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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Required Resources

  • Van      Wormer, K., & Davis, D. R. (2018). Addiction treatment: A      strengths perspective (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.
    • Chapter       10, “Family Risks and Resiliencies” (pp. 391-430)

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