How Can Strategic Family Therapy Help Me and My Loved Ones?

There is no strict definition or set of characteristics for “a family.” A family can be young or old, big or small, blended, fostered, adopted, or adapted. A family can also be weak or strong, but sometimes it needs a guide to help family members identify their strengths and weaknesses, their current abilities, and areas that need improvement.

Strategic Family Therapy, or SFT, can help families get back on the road to a supportive and loving relationship.

What Is Strategic Family Therapy?

SFT combines the idea of a family as a unit and the belief that an outside advocate is needed to help draft a strategy the family can follow to achieve success. The strategic family therapist is not concerned with the origin of family dysfunction, but focuses instead on setting a concise goal with a well thought out plan that will lead to the conclusion of the problems.

You can think of a strategic family therapist as the coach of an athletic team or a foreman on a worksite. The athletes have the skills to win a game, construction workers know how to build a house, but without a leader with a clear game plan or blueprints, everyone just kind of bounces off of each other and hopes for the best.

Informal Steps In Strategic Family Therapy

Just as a family is dynamic, a strategic family therapy plan must be somewhat fluid and flexible. A therapist will consider the following steps:

  • Identify the family dynamic issues
  • Determine which problems are solvable through SFT
  • Set SFT goals
  • Develop a plan to meet strategic family therapy goals
  • Review progress
  • Evaluate the outcome

One of the key differences with strategic therapy is that the therapist takes the leading role. The SFT plan is set and “enforced” by the therapist. Family homework is assigned, sometimes employing paradoxical procedures which seem to be contrary to the goals, but in actuality, help to accomplish them.

Goals of Strategic Family Therapy

Your family will usually come to Brief Strategic Family Therapy with an idea of what you want to accomplish, but after identifying the family dynamics and dysfunctions, your therapist may set different goals. Some developments a therapist hopes you take away from the program are:

  • Less restrictive family interactions
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to turn negative situations into positive solutions
  • Self-sustaining changes
  • Resolution of damaging behaviors/symptoms (substance abuse, depression, anxiety)

At Summit Malibu we understand that a family grows and changes organically, and because of this, the rules, beliefs, policies, and procedures, much like a workplace, must be reviewed and refined. Brief Strategic Family Therapy is that evaluation process.

Contact us today for more information about BSFT and our other successful mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.

Easing Anxiety and Depression Using Music Therapy

Music is everywhere. We listen to it at home, in our cars, and at work. Music travels well on devices, so we never have to be without it. Music is as varied as the flowers and as accessible as the air, so it is no wonder that it has long been considered therapeutic, both physically and emotionally.

The Power of Music

Plato believed that music was a good treatment for anxiety. Aristotle believed in its therapeutic properties. Since the dawn of time people have used sticks, rocks, body parts, and voices to make music to celebrate a successful hunt or to soothe a fussy child. Today, music continues to evolve and grow as a powerful internal communicator and mode of treatment for anxiety and depression.

The Stunning Effects of Music Therapy

Just listening to music can bring about incredible changes in your body and mind. Music can boost dopamine or distract you from discomfort. Oftentimes you will first “feel” music emotionally, then experience it cognitively, and finally physically. Whether the music is calming or invigorating to you (and it will be different for each person), music can physically:

  • Reduce fatigue
  • Boost endurance
  • Change your blood pressure
  • Change your heart rate
  • Give you energy

Psychologically music has been shown to help:

  • Lower anxiety
  • Relieve depression
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Aid in heart disease through reduction of stress

Types of Music Therapy

Music therapy for anxiety and depression includes listening, but can also involve performing, improvising, or composing, with a group or individually. Music and movement are tremendously effective not only for elevating mood, but also for bringing about better physical health through exercise. Bringing out instruments for improvisation in a group setting can be joyous and fulfilling. Active Music Therapy, which consists of a patient communicating through singing or tapping, “offers the patient opportunities for new aesthetic, physical and relational experiences.” Composing music can be a creative outlet that is also a release of emotion that tells a story.

Music therapy for anxiety and depression can help you shift your focus from the negative to the positive. And music therapy is just one of many steps you can take in overcoming depression and anxiety. Contact us at Summit Malibu today for more information about all of our treatment programs and begin your healing journey.

Treating the Co-Occurrence of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders can be challenging to deal with. Sufferers often turn to drugs and alcohol to help numb the pain or pretend that the mental health issue isn’t there. Quite often, the more serious the disorder, the more severe the abuse.

Unfortunately, this creates a snowball effect wherein the substance amplifies the negative symptoms, and even more, the substance is necessary to temper the symptoms of the mental disorder. The fully integrated program at Summit Malibu can successfully handle a Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorder.

The Link Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Approximately 50% of people with severe mental disorders also struggle with substance abuse. Each mental health issue has its own symptoms and treatment, and drug and alcohol abuse come with their own sets of problems. However, it is not effective to treat them separately. A dual diagnosis requires specialized treatment to manage co-occurring disorders.

Another thing to remember is that there is no cause and effect when it comes to mental health and substance abuse. While it may be easy to “blame” a disorder for a drug abuse problem, that is just exacerbating the core issue with denial.

The Treatment of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Duality

Summit Malibu takes a holistic approach to recovery, incorporating different programs and activities that most effectively treat the patient. In addition to one-on-one counseling, medical management, group sessions, and activities like yoga and art therapy, we employ addiction treatment modalities. Available therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
  • Biofeedback
  • Alpha-Stim
  • Relapse Prevention Therapy
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy

The Road to Recovery

You do not need to handle your mental health and substance abuse problems alone. Summit Malibu is here to help. Contact us for more information about our programs and treatment modalities, and start the journey on your road to recovery.

Fight Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction Before You Hit Rock Bottom

Depressed Girl Sitting in a Dark Room

The slippery slope on the way to hitting rock bottom is different for every person; some go quickly on a steep and slick slope, other substance abusers reach rock bottom more slowly on a steady even grade. And since there is no single definition of or level at which you hit rock bottom, how do you know you’re there?

Let’s talk about rock bottom, the anxiety, and depression that accompanies it, the hazards of the very concept, and addiction treatment available to prevent or raise you from it.

What Is Rock Bottom?

In a general sense, rock bottom is when you have reached your lowest point. Things can’t get any worse. Since we all have different tastes, desires, dreams, beliefs, and goals, rock bottom can vary greatly. A single word that best describes the main problem is “loss.” Most times rock bottom is the loss of:

  • Relationships
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Hobbies
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Freedom

The Repetition of Rock Bottom

Too often in a substance abuser’s life, rock bottom is actually more like a rubber bottom. They hit a low spot, think it can’t get any worse. They work on recovery for a while, see some progress, but then lose their footing on that slippery slope once again. The next fall is even lower than the previous one.

Maddie, a recovering young woman, and contributor to the Our Young Addicts community, describes it best when she wrote, “On April 20th, 2012, I hit another bottom. It wasn’t the first bottom I had hit, and it wouldn’t be the last.”

Addiction Treatment

Do not aim for rock bottom before seeking medical advice and professional treatment. Rock bottom is not a benchmark you must reach before entering a program. That is the devastating consequence of the entire concept of rock bottom.

If at any time you are thinking you may have a problem or that you need help, you do. Seek help immediately. The longer you wait, the more physical, emotional, and mental damage will be done to yourself and others, and the rougher the road to recovery.

Contact us at Summit Malibu to start your journey of addiction treatment and get on the path to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. Our treatment programs are designed to meet the individual needs of each patient. We can help you come back up from rock bottom

How To Have a Healthy Relationship While Going Through Recovery

Healthy relationships take work and dedication in all situations. When you or a loved one are going through recovery, relationships need healthy doses of honesty and openness to survive and maintain integrity. If you are the one going through recovery, it is important for you to recognize your needs and put yourself first, while also acknowledging the feelings of those who surround you.

What To Watch For

When you have made that very important and brave decision to lead a life of sobriety, you will need to be cognizant of your lifestyle and those with whom you surround yourself. If people in your life draw you into a downward spiral of negative thoughts and/or activities, it may be time to distance yourself from them.

When starting a new relationship, be upfront with that person. Explain right from the start that you do not drink or use other drugs. It is up to you how much detail you share, but ultimately that is all they need to know. If they are right for you, they will accept it without question, or their questions will be supportive, not damaging.

How To Help Yourself Maintain a Healthy Relationship

Self-actualization is a big component of recovery. You will need to be aware of yourself, your surroundings, and your reactions to people and things. It is important to review your triggers. If you are staying away from alcohol and suddenly find yourself desperately wanting a drink, take time for yourself to review what may have triggered this response. Was it something someone said or did? Is it a certain location or social situation? Understanding your reactions will help you mold your life to better suit your new healthier lifestyle.

If you feel yourself getting anxious or frustrated, there are a number of things you can do to deescalate the situation. If you are struggling with how to have a healthy relationship, try these techniques for yourself:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Me time
  • Open communication with your partner

At Summit Malibu, we understand that recovery is more than a medical process. Our staff, one-on-one patient treatment, true privacy, and holistic recovery program set Summit Malibu apart from most other treatment facilities. Contact us today for more information about our facilities, activities, and programs or if you are interested in starting the admissions process. We look forward to working with you.