Abstract

In this paper, the role of occupational therapy in the treatment of the family affected by alcoholism is explored. Literature is reviewed to analyze occupational therapists’ current approaches for interacting with the family. A family-treatment approach, based on systems theory, is organized into three hierarchical treatment levels that accommodate the family’s maladaptive roles. Family treatment methods thought most likely to produce the desired results are delineated according to treatment level. Treatment Level 1 focuses on reduction of maladaptive role behaviors of the family that enable the person’s drinking. At Treatment Level 2, family members are taught coping skills that weaken their reliance on maladaptive roles. Emotional development is stimulated at Treatment Level 3 through confrontation of continued use of maladaptive roles.

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