OSU researchers participated in a-first-of-its-kind study to examine the effectiveness of family therapy for mothers who are substance users. Mothers in therapy for drug and alcohol use recover faster if their children take part in their treatment sessions.
Researchers found that women who were in family therapy – which included their 8- to 16-year-old children – showed a quicker decline in alcohol, marijuana and cocaine use over 18 months compared to mothers who were in individual therapy.
Family therapy is likely more helpful to moms battling most substance use issues than individual therapy because it deals with the family stresses that contribute to drug and alcohol use.
The researchers hoped that assessing differences in the mother-child interaction before and after treatment would help them determine whether changes in these family dynamics were the key to the success of family therapy, but the results did not confirm that link. Researchers still believe the link is there, but that there weren’t enough subjects in the study to prove it.
Preliminary data from upcoming studies by the researchers suggests that family therapy is not only good for the mothers – it helps their children’s mental health, as well.