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.
Some situations that may benefit from family counseling include:
- If a 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)
- If a teenager is experiencing behavior issues such as anger outbursts
- Sibling conflict
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.