Benefits of Family Treatment for Fathers and Sons
Family Therapy: Father & Son
Families are unique social systems, made up of their own systems of communication that are determined by beliefs, values, personalities, and extended family influence. However, when a family member strays down the path of addiction or struggles with a mental health issue, it may be difficult for the family to manage the situation, leading to a break in the social system.1 Arguing, emotions, lack of support—all of this places stress on the family system.1 Therefore, it is extremely helpful for treatment centers to incorporate family therapy into all patient’s unique treatment plans.1
Family Lessons Taught
Family therapy teaches family members how to communicate properly and function as a group, while learning how to deal with their loved one’s unfortunate situation.1 Conflicts and anxieties are addressed and pointers are given for future use.1 Family members learn about their strengths and how that is important to the family as a whole.1 The better the family functions, the easier recovery will be for the loved one in treatment.1
Specifically speaking, fathers and sons often avoid family therapy, as men dislike expressing feelings and emotions. However, it can be extremely helpful, as most often, sons look for their father’s approval throughout their lives, and it can be terribly disappointing when it is not received, such as in times of mental illness or substance abuse.2 Fathers often believe that they are doing the correct thing by being strong and hard on their sons, thinking it will snap them back into the correct place in society.2 However, this is often not the answer. Working on communication between father and son is important in family therapy, so that the son feels supported and the father feels as though he is truly helping his child.2
Together, As A Family
The therapist will usually begin the session by asking what the father and son would like the outcome to be.2 Next, the therapist discusses how important full participation is to achieving their goals.2 Then, sessions are dedicated to working on specific problems unique to the father-son relationship, depending upon the approach: structural approach, strategic systemic therapy, the Milan systemic approach, social constructionist approach, narrative therapy, brief-solution focused therapy, psychoeducational therapy, or behavioral family therapy. The systemic approaches have been found to be extremely helpful with adolescents who suffer from conduct disorders or substance abuse, as well as mood disorders and psychotic illnesses.3 It has been found that fathers and sons respond better to a combination of individual and family systemic therapy than to just individual therapy alone.3 In fact, the systemic approaches are the most widely used, as there is a plethora of research stating its effectiveness.3
 “Family therapy.” WebMD . Healthwise Staff, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/balance/family-therapy-6301>.
 Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 34.) Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64947/
 Asen, Eia. “Outcome research in family therapy .” Advances in Psychiatric Treatment . N.p., 1 Apr. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/8/3/230.full. Family.