Therapeutic Options

The word therapy has lost much of its taboo, allowing individuals and/or groups to benefit from treatment. Many insurance companies now cover therapeutic options in their plans, offering a variety of services to the insured and their families. One type of therapeutic treatment options, the family based treatment program, is gaining popularity due to its effectiveness in treating a wide variety of issues, along with being a cost effective option for treatment in comparison to individual therapeutic treatment.

What is A Family Based Treatment Program?

As the name suggests, family based treatment program incorporate the family in a group setting, rather than only treating the individual. While individual therapeutic treatment is still the norm, family or group therapy has shown to be effective for a wide variety of disorders by educating and incorporating parents and members of the individual’s social network. This allows the family or social network to recognize problematic behaviors and intervene with strategies provided by the therapist. This also helps to keep the individual accountable to the directions given by the counselor.

What Types of Disorders Can Family Based Treatment Help?

Family based treatment programs work on a wide variety of disorders. Evidence has show this type of treatment to be particularly effective when treating substance disorders. Families are able to help the individual cope with the many triggers causing the individual to turn to substance abuse, along with helping manage the co-occurring side effects of the behavior.

Eating disorders, such as obesity and anorexia nervosa, have also been effectively treated with family based therapy. Daniel Le Grange described family based treatment programs as the “treatment of choice” for anorexia, touting the supportive nature of this method.

One type of family treatment, known as the Maudsley Approach, utilizes the guardians of the individual (or closest relatives) as the prime factor in healing from eating disorders.

Cost Effectiveness of A Family Based Treatment Program

One aspect of this type of treatment is the cost effectiveness. Traditional therapy treats the individual. That being said, it is not uncommon for additional family members to seek treatment to help navigate through difficult times. For each family member treated, there is a cost associated with each individual. Family based treatment programs, in most cases, does not bill each individual. Rather it is treated as a group session, providing benefits to the family, as well as the individual. Evidence has shown group style therapy to be a more cost effective alternative to one-on-one counseling.

Is A Family Based Treatment Program for Everyone?

Quite simply, no. There is no “one size fits all” type of therapy, and counselors will evaluate treatment options on a case-by-case basis. That being said, there is mounting evidence illustrating how effective family based therapy can be for a growing number of disorders.

The bottom line is the best resources for success in overcoming mental disorders are the ones around you. Having a knowledgeable social network to break the patterns leading to disorders has proven to be an effective treatment option for long and short-term success.

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