Forgiveness is a process that can be difficult to achieve. One thing that can make it easier is family systems therapy. Family systems therapy helps individual family members understand their place within the system and how they may be contributing to the pain of others. Once family members become more aware of their effect on others, the family often achieves more of an overall sense of safety, trust, and openness. This sense of safety and openness is very important during addiction treatment and throughout the recovery process.
Family Systems Therapy Is a Process
Family systems therapy looks at forgiveness as a process within a healthy, supportive family system. It’s all about the group – not just one person but the entire system. The therapist helps create a safe environment for growth and healing to take place by creating trust and openness between family members. The therapist also helps members identify their role in the family system. After doing that, the therapist steers them toward active compassion toward others rather than holding onto grudges or resentments.
The Family Therapist Sets the Tone
The family therapist helps set the tone for safety, trust, and openness. The family therapist is not a judge or referee. Instead, they act as a facilitator who works with all members of the family to help them understand each other better. The therapist helps people reach agreements on how they can all live together more peacefully in the future.
Keep in mind that the family therapist does not take sides. Instead, the therapist helps members explore their actions and reactions. Eventually, everyone can agree on how to live together more peacefully in the future. If all members of the family are able and willing, the therapist can help guide the family to a more functional, loving family dynamic.
Family Systems Therapy Helps Everyone Identify Their Roles
In family systems therapy, family members are responsible for their actions, not those of other family members or even of a therapist. A client might learn to say, “I don’t have control over what my father does. I can only control how I react to what he does.” Family members also recognize that it is unrealistic to expect that someone else will change at any given time. The family member should instead focus on changing themselves so that they can respond differently when another person behaves poorly or inappropriately.
For example, if someone’s husband had an affair with his secretary behind their back and won’t take responsibility for his actions, this can be difficult. However, the person cannot blame themselves or expect their husband to change overnight. We all have needs and desires, but some people aren’t ready to take responsibility or change yet.
The Therapist Steers Members Toward Active Compassion for One Another
The therapist helps people develop active compassion, which is the ability to be open and vulnerable with others. This is a process of letting go of anger and resentment, which allows people to heal from past traumas. The therapist will help individuals to see family members’ actions not as personal attacks but simply as evidence that they’ve experienced their own traumas. Family members may not be aware that what they’re doing affects others negatively.
This hurts at first because it means acknowledging ways in which people’s loved ones have hurt them. Ultimately, it helps people to understand that no one wants to cause harm on purpose. They just don’t know how else to react when confronted by painful situations or feelings within themselves like fear.
When people begin to see others in this light, when their hearts are opened up through forgiveness and understanding, they can then reconcile with their family members. They can then bring peace back into relationships where there hasn’t been any for some time.
Forgiveness Is Possible When You Open Up About Hurtful Experiences
When you’re ready to make your first attempts at forgiveness, the most important thing to remember is that talking about what happened is crucial. This does not mean you need to tell everyone the full story of how your family hurt you or mistreated you. It does mean that when talking with family members, it’s important to open up about how your past experiences affect you now. Also, what action steps would help everyone move forward with forgiveness?
Working Toward Healing
For example, if a friend or loved one has committed an unforgivable crime against you and their behavior has caused lasting damage in your life, it might be helpful for both parties if they could talk about what happened. That way, both parties can begin working toward healing together as opposed to operating separately from one another.
In cases where someone commits an act against another individual without any intention for harm but ends up causing harm nonetheless, sharing this information will help increase their awareness. They can then begin to provide support accordingly without having any false impressions about why something happened in the first place. Achieving openness within the family is better for everyone because, in the final analysis, no one really wants to cause anyone else harm.
Forgiveness is a process that takes time, patience, and persistence. With family systems therapy, you can break through the barriers of anger and hurt to reach a point where forgiveness becomes possible.
Here at Villa Oasis San Diego, we take pride in incorporating family and loved ones into the treatment and recovery process. It is important that everyone works as a team to overcome this disease. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and could use some help, please give us a call.
We want to help you and your family become the most functional and happy that you can be. For more information, please call us at (619) 373-9792.