Is your family going through a rough patch? Whether the issue itself, stems from a lack of understanding between those involved, sibling conflict, or developmental disagreements with a child, a difficult situation can have an effect on the entire family. Family counseling, or family therapy, can be helpful when problems arise and can help restore and improve communication. It is important to recognize that none of us exist in isolation. Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are a result of context, and our family is our primary context.
Understanding the context of the family and how each member is affected by others is important. Additionally, the family is continually changing and Transforming. Pressures can form from within and outside the family.
What brings a family to therapy
There are a variety of issues that can bring a family to therapy including:
- Your family is going through a loss.
- If a family member is suffering from substance abuse
- Issues between parents (parenting issues or going through a divorce)
- A child or teenager is experiencing behavior issues such as anxiety, angry outbursts, or attention problems
- Sibling conflict
What you get in therapy
Every family is unique and in order for sessions to be successful, an individualized treatment approach is necessary. Child or teen behavioral conduct problems and emotional or mood disorders can be addressed through individual work with the child as well as developing strategies for the parents to support the child.
The relationship between parents is often a major focus. In therapy, parents can also learn positive practices that include better communication and providing a supportive and safe environment for the child. Many issues that will lead to supportive and healthy relationships between all members of the family are addressed, including:
- Exploring family rules, roles, and behavior
- Improving communication
- Addressing interpersonal problems in a safe environment
- Developing strategies for coping with challenging situations
- Building a positive, safe, and secure home environment
- Identifying strengths in the family and where you need to grow
- Setting individual and family goals
How can family counseling help?
Family counseling can help open up a line of dialogue and communication and can help family members understand each other’s perspectives. This makes it easier to resolve disputes. During the counseling sessions, each member has the ability to learn ways of communicating better, as well as developing techniques to de-escalate arguments while making sure that everybody is getting heard. This can also help with parenting problems such as conflicting parenting styles, rule enforcement and remaining consistent with your child once the rules are established.
How is it accomplished?
Family therapy or counseling can be used in addition to individual treatment. The goal is to improve relationships and improve methods of communication and conflict resolution. Families are a unique ecosystem, and issues affecting one member of a family can reverberate and affect the whole unit. Additional benefits of this type of counseling are that in some instances, the sessions can heal emotional wounds in a short period of time.