We know from personal experience the impacts of multigenerational trauma and emotional pain can have on a person’s mental health. Toxic family dynamics are known to contribute to the development of both substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health issues.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Substance use disorders are family diseases because there can be an intergenerational transmission that affects the entire family unit and its individual members.” Fortunately, transgenerational therapy provides essential support for families struggling with unhealthy dynamics. We designed our program at Emerge Recovery TX to offer trauma-focused family services to assist those affected by substance abuse and mental health issues.
The Impact of Multigenerational Pain and Mental Health Issues
No family is perfect. However, some families may struggle more than others to develop healthy bonds. It can seem overwhelming to recover in an unhealthy environment where multiple family members have untreated mental health issues or SUD.
Multigenerational pain causes significant emotional distress, and family members certainly feel it. Those feelings are not a sign of weakness.
Unaddressed multigenerational pain can lead to the following symptoms:
- Self-isolating behaviors
- Distrust of others
- Difficulty forming healthy bonds
Help Is Available
The manifestations of toxic family dynamics can create additional struggles for individuals on their journey to a healthier way of life. However, it’s unnecessary to passively accept these dynamics and their corresponding symptoms. Transgenerational therapy can help everyone learn healthy ways to manage intergenerational issues and related trauma. Families often use this therapy to heal together and address underlying issues during early recovery.
A therapist often facilitates therapy sessions that include multiple generations of the family. Families can become closer by practicing active listening, conflict resolution, and other essential skills. These skills can ultimately increase the effectiveness of any other therapies and recovery in general.
One benefit of this type of therapy is that it can create open communication with family members who may have previously closed themselves off to one another. At Emerge Recovery TX, we pride ourselves on offering a curriculum that provides women with the necessary tools to communicate with their loved ones and set healthy boundaries.
What Is Transgenerational Therapy?
Transgenerational therapy is a modality that considers family dynamics and the influence of multiple generations on overall family health. Many issues can be passed down through generations.
According to a study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, “There is evidence that problem behavior such as harsh parenting, substance use, and emotional distress are transmitted across generations.” This can lead to individuals engaging in substance abuse and developing ineffective coping skills.
In addition, women with multigenerational trauma often have difficulty recognizing their maladaptive behaviors and may not even realize they need this kind of help. Transgenerational trauma addresses these issues and supports families as they navigate recovery.
Specifically, transgenerational therapy focuses on the following:
- Providing insight into how older generations have affected the mental health and well-being of younger generations within a family
- Understanding how specific patterns of behavior impact each generation and member of the family unit
- Developing healthy ways to address family-related issues and symptoms of SUD or mental health disorders
- Reframing how families think about each other and their relationships
- Encouraging multigenerational healing
During this type of therapy, therapists look at the behaviors of each family member to better understand how they impact the family unit. During sessions, clients and their families learn to identify dysfunctional behaviors and replace them with healthier behaviors. A therapist may also focus on analyzing past experiences or providing hypothetical situations to help families gain greater self-awareness about how their actions affect each other.
How Can Transgenerational Therapy Improve Recovery?
Treatment in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or outpatient program (OP) is the first step toward full recovery from both mental health conditions and SUD. After completing treatment, we have learned through personal experience how important it is to continue the internal work to maintain recovery for the long haul.
For those of us with family members experiencing unaddressed substance abuse or mental health issues, the responsibility to continue taking care of our internal landscape is even greater, as these kinds of issues are known to put our recovery at risk.
Transgenerational therapy can help to ensure intergenerational problems are addressed in a healthy way. For many women, transgenerational therapy improves treatment outcomes through the following:
- Improving lines of communication between different generations
- Educating family members about the realities of mental health and SUDs
- Providing tools for repairing and deepening intergenerational relationships
On the journey to healing, each of us in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders can benefit from having loving family members at our side. With this fact in mind, many families choose to continue attending therapy sessions or alternative holistic therapies together during the aftercare phase of recovery. With various treatments and tools, families can heal from the damage of multigenerational trauma.
Improving Communication Between Family Members
Honest and open communication between family members is an essential part of the recovery process for many women. Transgenerational therapy assists families with processing issues affecting multiple family members across generations. Emerge Recovery TX ensures women feel safe and confident in their ability to maintain control over their lives while giving them the support they need to address critical family problems.
At the same time, it is important to note that transgenerational therapy may not be for everyone. At Emerge Recovery TX, it is important to us that each woman has control over her recovery and can choose whether or not to incorporate her family into therapy. In some cases, family members are not in a place where they feel able to address trauma or other issues affecting their relationships.
Through our experience, we have seen that involving family members in therapy may enhance healing for many women. The clinicians at Emerge Recovery TX will support women and help them determine if transgenerational therapy is right for them and their treatment plan.
As recovered women ourselves, we understand how important community and connection can be to facilitate healing. Because of this, we offer women the opportunity to transition into our sober and transitional living communities if they need more time to heal and repair relationships with family members before returning home. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the communities at Grace & Emerge Recovery TX remain safe and supportive environments for women to heal and we look forward to welcoming each new member on their journey to healing.
Leah & Laurel
Some women use substances to self-medicate and cope with intergenerational trauma or other family issues. In some cases, multiple generations of a family abuse substances and refuse treatment. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of relapse by addressing any intergenerational problems contributing to your substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Transgenerational therapy is one option for women struggling to find a healthy way to cope with family problems. The experts at Emerge Recovery TX have the necessary tools to help women overcome challenges related to intergenerational trauma or other family issues. To learn more about our program and the family support services we offer, call our office today at (737) 237-9663.