Do you desire to improve relationships in your family but don’t know how to approach healing past hurts?
Family counseling is a method of therapy used to address a problem that impacts an entire family system. This approach to therapy generally addresses more specific issues where the family will learn new behavioral ways of interacting, find the ability to be vulnerable with one another again and show empathy for all the varied viewpoints within a specific problem area.
Available Online and In-Person
Who It’s For
Family counseling is for anyone who desires to improve their relationships in their family. Family is defined by each unique family setup. Whoever you define as family can engage in family therapy with you. So, family counseling could include biological family members, stepfamily members, adoptive family members, siblings, children and grandparents.
This type of counseling can be particularly helpful when a family member or group has experienced a transitional or traumatic event such as a divorce, blending two families together, dealing with problematic behaviors, or dealing with addiction within the family system.
How It Works
We will meet on a regular basis, mostly as an entire family unit, but occasionally meeting with smaller groups within the family unit as deemed necessary and appropriate through conversation between the family and the counselor.
A treatment plan and goals will be set up during the initial meeting so that the family system is working toward identified change together. Treatment throughout the weeks will be monitored and discussed and appropriate changes to therapy will be made based on the progress that we see.
Let’s Talk About:
- Dealing with the impact of addiction on a family
- Improving Communication among family members
- Healing hurts from the past
- Blending Families
- Dealing with the impact of divorce
- Resolving Conflicts
- Reducing Stress
Let’s see if this is the right fit for you
Does It Feel Like Your Family Is Falling Apart?
Is your family struggling to communicate? Are toxic relationships and unhealthy dynamics within your family leading to discord and conflict? Do you wish there was a way to address the problems within your family and move forward?
A family is a sensitive organism—when certain family members aren’t getting along, it affects the entire dynamic. Perhaps the conflict between two family members has resulted in the rest of you taking sides, leading to strained relationships. Feeling at odds and out of balance, everyone has become frustrated with each other and emotionally exhausted by the ongoing fighting.
The Problems Each Family Faces Are Unique
Just as every family is unique, so are the problems you are contending with. Perhaps you’re experiencing issues related to being a blended family or adopting a child from another ethnicity or culture. If you are a family whose children are mixed race, perhaps one parent doesn’t understand how their ethnicity impacts them in daily life. Or maybe your family is facing an unexpected financial or emotional crisis, or having trouble coming to terms with a child’s sexual identity.
It may seem like one person’s behavior is the reason the family is in turmoil. Issues related to their mental health—or substance abuse—could negatively affect everyone. You may avoid inviting friends over because you fear they may witness your family’s fighting, and perhaps you’re ashamed of how unhealthy the dynamics have become. You wish that peace could be restored and your family could get back on the same page again.
Fortunately, counseling can help your family find common ground. With the help of a trained family therapist, you can restore the peace you’ve lost and resolve the issues keeping you in conflict.
The Struggles Of Individual Members Can Impact The Entire Family
What makes a family strong—its close connection—is the same thing that can make it vulnerable to strain and conflict. Because we are so deeply connected, the impact our familial relationships have on us can be profound. When one family member is suffering, in a sense, we all suffer.
There are times when our family is more susceptible to problems than others. It can be challenging when children transition from childhood to adolescence—or from adolescence to adulthood—especially when their parents are already struggling in their own relationship. Furthermore, when we have a blended family, divided loyalty and issues adjusting to the new relational dynamics often lead to higher divorce rates.
The family dynamic can also be disrupted when a parent or child struggles with substance abuse. However, research has shown that family therapy can be more effective than individual therapy after they get sober because it offers everyone the chance to learn new strategies that will support that family member in their sobriety.
We May Think We Shouldn’t Need Help To Resolve Internal Family Problems
As parents, we may struggle to address issues within our family. Perhaps we think that just because we’re parents, resolving our problems should come easily to us and that we should know how to soothe conflicts without needing external support. Or maybe we believe that if only our child would behave and act “correctly”, everything would go back to normal, never acknowledging how the emotional dynamics within the family contribute to their behavior.
However, reaching out for help is one of the most beneficial ways you can improve family relationships. Family therapy allows you the time and space to better relate to one another while learning more effective communication methods that can help resolve conflict.
Counseling Can Help A Family In Crisis Restore Their Harmony
By not seeking therapy, the problems your family is dealing with may have damaged relationships. However, whether you are contending with issues related to ethnicity, multicultural disconnection, LGBT identity, or substance abuse, counseling can help you come together as a family and repair what has been broken.
Counseling gives you a safe space to explore the disconnection your family is experiencing in a judgment-free environment. With the support of an unbiased family counselor, each of you will gain an understanding of how your current methods of coping may be negatively impacting each other. Additionally, if someone is recently sober or received a mental health diagnosis, therapy offers your family the opportunity to explore behavioral strategies that will support that family member as they embark upon treatment and recovery.
What To Expect In Family Counseling Sessions
The first meeting with your family counselor will be attended by the entire family so they can assess what issues are impacting your family negatively. The therapist will explore when the problems started and what you have done already to try and resolve them. With that information, your therapist will help you develop a suitable treatment plan to find meaningful solutions.
After this initial session, your therapist may wish to meet with different family member groupings, such as holding counseling sessions with only parents, siblings, or, perhaps a specific parent/child combination like mother and daughter or father and son. By exploring different relationship dyads, your therapist will better understand the underlying dynamics of your family so they can pinpoint improving the relationships that are the most distressed.
If your family has cast one member as the “black sheep” who has been made to feel wholly responsible for all of the problems, we will bring your awareness to how scapegoating is limiting your ability to heal as a family. We will also teach you best practices for improving communication and behavioral strategies to avoid conflict. And showing parents how to be confident leaders of the family by teaching them helpful coaching skills can instill a sense of safety and security for everyone.
The Modalities We Use In Family Counseling
Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) is an evidence-based therapy that emphasizes repairing relationships to help transform individuals as well as the family itself. Systemic issues—such as substance abuse, blended families, or mental health struggles—cause conflict. EFFT will help you foster closeness as a unit and the sense that you’re all on the same team in the face of these challenges.
With the help and support that counseling provides, your family can heal its fractured relationships. You can each gain confidence that you will be able to cope with whatever challenges come your way, as a unified family unit.
But You May Wonder Whether Family Counseling Is Right For You…
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Will family therapy help us overcome our unique issues if we are in crisis?
As therapists who specialize in working with families, we often see our clients put off counseling until their family is facing a crisis. And although counseling can be challenging at times, the types of therapy we offer can be very beneficial to the family system as a whole. As opposed to feeling fractured and disconnected, each of you can learn skills that will make your family feel more like a cohesive unit, where everyone is on the same side.
What if one family member refuses to attend counseling?
Family therapy is most helpful if all its members attend, but even if one person refuses, the other family members can still find hope and healing as they work on their relationships with each other. Sometimes when the person who refuses to come sees the positive transformations the other family members are making, it inspires them to want to attend as well.
The problem is our child’s behavior—they need individual therapy.
The reality is that nothing exists in a vacuum—problems that arise in families were created through relationship and, therefore, need to be resolved through relationship. Although it’s common for us to think that it is only one’s family member’s behavior creating tension and discord, if only one part of the family dynamic is changed, it won’t be sustainable unless the overall dynamic changes. Since everyone has a role in how the family unit functions, it’s best to address problems as they arise within the context of the family system and not individually.
The Wellbeing Of Your Family Is Priceless
Discord and conflict don’t have to be what defines your family—each of you deserves to be happy, healthy, and connected. For more information about family counseling, please contact us.
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