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Family Therapy – A father supports his daughter’s recovery

Kylie Beattie | Monday, November 11th, 2019

| Family Support |

Family Therapy in Recovery - from the experience of a father.

No matter if it’s the first time or something you are familiar with, it’s never easy for the family when someone you care about is admitted to treatment whether it be for drug addiction, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, trauma or other mental health concerns. You may wonder how to help them and where to go for help yourself. 

In this interview with a father who completed our Family Program, he shares his story of how he came to understand his daughter’s experience at Byron Private and how it has allowed him to feel more open and caring.

Family therapy in rehab

How did you feel coming into the family program at Byron Private?

My first impression was that I was a little anxious because I’ve done a lot of short family therapy sessions, so I didn’t really know what to expect. My previous experience with family therapy had been quite intense and I thought it was going to be quite draining and heavy.

How was your experience?

My experience was wonderful, I thought the actual program was very, very good. The therapist Anna was also more open than I expected, I’ve had lots of experiences with therapist who don’t say too much. It was also good that it was over 3 days, so there was a development. It sustained itself, so we were able to get into deeper issues and not just leave them hanging as with shorter therapies.

It was a small group and that made a difference, because there were only the four of us. It allowed an intimacy that was really good.

Was it helpful to have another family there?

Yes, it was helpful because we had a lot of empathy for each other. I think it allowed everyone to feel open enough and not be scared to say things that needed to be said. Maybe with a large group we might not have gone as deep as possible.

How are things different between you and Nicole now?

Much better, more trusting. I think it also gave me a bit of skill in learning how to talk to communicate when I feel something needs to be said. That’s been helpful because I did say something that I was concerned about, but I felt like I could say it. Our communication with each other is more open and trusting and I think there were a lot of issues that she had about the past in our relationship that we were able to work with and work through. Our relationship is healthier, fresher and in a better place.

Father with Daughter in Rehab

Family can sometimes fear family program is about blame, what would you say to them?

To be able to say things without feeling blame and guilt I think is the essence of what needs to be done. That is a skill that Anna the therapist had, she tried to steer us away from feeling or dwelling on blame and guilt. I think that is the skill of the therapist. I certainly felt able to say and take on anything she said without feeling bad about it. It is what it is, to actually talk about it is the way to deal with it. I would say to others, don’t’ be afraid, it's very healing.

Did the family program help you understand what your daughter had experience at Byron Private?

Yes, I got an idea of the place and the people and that was very helpful. I mean when I’m away from her it's difficult and now I have a sense of identity and an experience that we have shared ...and that brings us together.

Do you feel you will continue to grow from here together? 

Yes, definitely. Me just coming and being here and doing this has been very positive. It's obviously hard being distances apart and one has to sustain communication. I will now make it a priority to communicate on a regular basis, now that I’ve been here it's much easier because I feel a part of something here.

I didn’t for so many reasons and lots to do with business and this and that, I now realize how important it is to make that time. More than ever, I got a sense of the value of that.

I think a factor was that previously I would say,

"well she just has to work it out, I can’t do it for her"

whereas now I feel I am part of the process and we are closer in that sense.

What would you say was the take away for you?

I learnt skills and I left with a feeling of gratefulness and just a sense of hope. It’s never going to be easy, because life isn’t easy, but I left with a feeling that it's easier than it was. I feel stronger, more confident. It gave me the ability to be more open and caring. 

So it’s not about fixing anything... just coming together?

It's important that Nicole feels that, it was about a meeting of tenderness & souls. I think that’s what’s real, one must sustain that. It's a priority - that’s what family is.

Thank you for providing the place for that to happen.

About the Family Therapy Program

One of the most challenging aspects of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, mental health and trauma related conditions, is the powerlessness that friends and family members feel as they watch problems unfold and escalate. Every member of the family, and those around the person, is impacted in some way and have often been suffering for a long time. It is not unusual for the individual, the family and those close to the person to feel lost, angry or have a sense of hopelessness regarding the issue.

If you have any concerns, please call us on 02 6684 4145 or after hours we can be contacted on 0457 888 890. The clinical team from our addiction and trauma recovery program will be able to attend to your questions and address them where they can with respect to any confidentiality concerns.

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